Cats and Kodiaks Trade Goals and Punches in Cats win.
By Shane Tomayer
The Bobcats entered Friday night on a three game skid, tying their worst loss streak of the season. In discussion with Nigel Dube pregame he was very clear that effort and execution had been the Cats biggest problems over that stretch. Chances have been created, chances have not been capitalized on, was the summary of the message. So a quick start and a sharp tone would be the plan for the home side as they prepared to kick off a brief 2 game homestand.
3:24 into the first the Bobcats showed that they were ready for action as Rawji created a turnover and initiated a tic-tac-toe play with Matthew Swanson where Swanson would ultimately catiplize and open the scoring. Two minutes later Fincaryk would generate another turnover, enter the zone and feed Aucoin who would quickly dish to his left where Tegan Skehar would waste no time in making it a 2-0 hockey game.
30 seconds later Thornton would jump out of the crease for a loose puck and mishandle it allowing an opportunity for the Kodiaks to make it 2-1. Thorton raced back and between he and Busby they’d stop the first effort but Michael Horon of the Kodiaks would send the rebound home to enter the score sheet.
Rawji and Swanson would connect again before a great individual effort by MacLean would chase the Kodiaks goaltender from the net with four minutes and change remaining in the first period.
With Spencer Welke in the Camrose net for the remainder of the game the visitors were able to stymie the Bobcats offense through the rest of the game. The Bobcats however had done enough damage and would hold off the Kodiaks despite a pair of 3rd period goals.
Six minutes into the third the fans were treated to some “old time hockey” as local product Ben Bygrove would shed the mits and some excitement to the game in a spirited bout with Connor Gourley that would send the two willing combatants to the showers early.
All told the positives in this game far outweighed the negatives as usually is the case with a winning result. Nigel Dube on the win, “I thought the guys responded well from Wednesday night when we weren’t at our best. We got back to what will allow us to have success.” It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows though, “Discipline side we let slip in the third and we gave them opportunity off of unnecessary penalties. Credit to the group they stuck with it and that’s what you need to do”. While experiencing some penalty troubles the Cats were able to fend off the Kodiaks powerplay (for the most part), stopping the extra attacker 4 of 5 times on the evening and improving their season totals.
As much as the Cats were able to step things up in terms of production they’ve also continued to grow their physical play. A big part of that has been Ryan Schendel who has found a groove and an intensity on ice. Largely in a botto 6 role so far this season Schendel who has four points on the season, has been making the most of his 6′ 183lb frame as of late. On the Bobcats centre Dube was more than positive on his play of late, “Ryan has found his role and he knows what he has to do to be successful at it. He’s an example of a player who is of great value because he plays his part, and doesn’t try to be something that he’s not.”
The Bobcats will look for another two points Saturday night when they play the expansion Blackfalds Bulldogs for the first time. Blackfalds comes into Lloydminster 4-2-1 in their last 7 as they sit 2 points back of fourth spot in a tight AJHL South division. Puck drop at the Civic will come at 7:30 after a 7:15 pregame show on Hockey TV and MixLr.