Gordon Anderson/Courtesy of meridianbooster.com
Devin Green stopped 17 shots for his first shut out as a Bobcat in a 4-0 win over the Spruce Grove Saints at the Grant Fuhr Arena Saturday night.
Interim head coach Kyle Tapp said Green was solid if not spectacular in the net and a good portion of the clean sheet was the work of the guys in front of him.
“He was solid, he did his job,” Tapp said. “No miraculous saves. The team gave up four shots in the last 30 minutes of the game. (We) were good defensively, good through the neutral zone and didn’t give up a whole lot (of chances).”
Tapp said the win was about the greater good disguised inside a team concept
“The boys were committed to the system and they were committed to each other,” he said. “I’ve thrown a lot at them, I’ve asked a lot out of them since the start of the New Year and today they executed.”
The coach said in the last week he has taken them physically and mentally to the limits and back but it’s about trying create an up tempo that will give them the ability to play at a higher level when much is riding on a win.
“Ever since the first game in the Sherwood Park series we’ve been trying to create a playoff type environment everyday at practice,” Tapp said. ”The guys are tired and beat up but after the win (on Saturday) they forgot about how tired and sore they were.”
The Bobcats are hard pressed to make the playoffs but Tapp said he isn’t giving up on them or himself.
“We push them really hard in practice,” he said. “Sometimes they want to revert back to some of their old habits of taking shortcuts and the easy way and we ride them pretty hard.”
Tapp said it’s not easy to recreate pressure-laden game situations in practice but he’s treating it like it’s game seven of the finals.
“There is a lot of yelling, screaming, a lot of skating and just accountability,” he said. “Getting it (into) their heads if they want to play college and pro hockey they’re going to be treated like a piece of meat sometimes.”
A decision on Tapp’s future hasn’t been announced but he’s resolute in one factor.
“Win lose or draw we’re going to be better every day,” he said. “Every kid is going to leave this program better for it.”
The Bobcats (16-26-6) got goals from Linden Springer, Dustin Lebrun, Eric Therrien and Wesley Walz.
The Saints (28-13-6) are first in the AJHL north division but have now lost three straight for the first time this year.
The ‘Cats went 1-4 with the man advantage and the Saints went 0-4.
The Bobcats got the only two goals of the first period.
Springer scored at 2:30 and Lebrun doubled the lead at 13:16 on the power play.
Therrien made it 3-0 at 6:10 of the third and Walz close the scoring at 18:47.
Up next for the Bobcats is a Wednesday night game against Whitecourt. Puck drop is 7: 30 p.m. at the Civic Centre.