Bralin Technology Solutions Recap
By Shane Tomayer
The Bobcats have been scratching and clawing their way up the AJHL standings as of late. Their competition – the Oil Barons – have been trending in the opposite direction. Headed to Lloydminster for Friday nights match up the MOB had lost 7 straight. They’d recently parted ways with their head coach and general manager, replacing him on an interim basis with former Bobcats Assistant Coach Carter Duffin. With multiple changes at the January 10th trade deadline the Oil Barons were coming to Lloydminster barely holding on to the final playoff spot and desperate to get back into the win column. Desperation makes for dangerous opponents, especially for a Bobcats squad still looking to work their up the standings, in a tight race with a number of teams involved.
The Border City club did what they do best and strapped on their work boots simply took the game to their visitors in every facet. 17 minutes into the first Ben Aucoin opened the scoring on the powerplay. The first goal would be enough to win the game, but the Bobcats were far from done. The Cats would combine for 6 more goals against the Oil Barons. Highlighting those were end to end rushes by Fritz in the second period and then Redekopp following suit in the third. In the final frame the home side peppered 28 shots at the visitors goal, matching the Oil Barons total for the entire game.
Not to be showed up by the 6 different goal scorers, Jack Solomon was at the peak of his game yet again. His 28 save shutout was the second in as many games and 5th in his last 8 starts. Setting him alone for second in the league in shut outs.
Beyond individual accolades the Bobcats special teams combined to drive their success. Penalties were handed out like bite sized chocolate bars on Halloween. The Bobcats were strong with the extra attacker and with out. the PK stymied the visiting power play on all 7 attempts. Meanwhile their own powerplay was successful 4 of 9 chances.
Saturday the desperation in the Oil Barons game was palpable. Having now lost 8 straight pressure had to be building internally. The Bobcats would need to be better than they were Friday and certainly could not rest on their laurels. Ultimately you may not be able to say they played better Saturday night but they did show up ready to do battle and that’s exactly what they did.
The two squads traded goals in the first period ending the opener tied at 2. Early in the second period assistant captain Ryan Redekopp was tagged for a double minor and would have to watch from the penalty box as the Oil Barons capitalized twice with the man advantage. This put the MOB ahead by a pair and had the Cats looking at an uphill fight to sweep the weekend. After the fourth goal Bobcats bench called Solomon in and sent out local product Haden Heide for his first taste of home ice in Jr A. While the fans jeered the decision by Rihela it couldn’t have worked out better. Heide played well stopping all 13 shots faced. The defense locked down and directed a number of shots away from the rookie netminder and ensured he had the support needed. Meanwhile the offence engaged and went back to dictating the play. It was 7 minutes into the third when Redekopp answered, with his second goal of the weekend. Michael Carter added another to even the score 3 minutes later, with a seeing eye shot from the blue line. But the Bobcats with under 10 minutes to go still needed someone to step up. To those close to the team it was not shocking that the player to step up would be a local rookie.
Teague McAllister was tenacious all game. He had opened the scoring. He’d made multiple checks and was relentless on the forecheck and PK – which the home side spent plenty of time on. Then with 5 minutes to go in regulation time and the score tied at 4 a defensive zone error by the visitors put the puck on a platter for McAllister who drove home his 2nd of the night and third on the season to cap off the come back victory.
While McAllister has been strong and a valued teammate all season long, this game may well have been his coming out party as it was certainly his best game to date. After a performance like this don’t be shocked to see McAllister’s name positively reflected more frequently in the future.
Bobcats next action is scheduled for Wednesday evening at home. Stay tuned to the Bobcats app and social media for updates.