Home Cooking Benefits the Bobcats
Wednesday evening would mark the final home game for the Cats prior to the Christmas break. Through the month of December the Cats have been a perfect 3-0 at home coming into the contest while the Crusaders were a team on the climb in the North division standings, sitting only 4 points back from the home side.
5:30 into the first the Crusaders started the scoring while the Bobcats were down a man with Parker serving time on a holding call. Tanner Fincaryk – who had been lethal against his former team in their previous 3 meetings – would even the score just 5 seconds later. A goal that was given a lot of credit by Nigel Dube for its importance, “Quick response to their first goal being able to score off the next puck drop changed our game, we started elevating our play and took over in a lot of areas of the game. It was great to see our guys play the game the right way for closer to 60 minutes”. Fincaryk would add a second goal alter on.
In the middle period the Cats would add 4 more goals unanswered with dominant play. They would more than double Sherwood Park on the shot clock in period 2 and seemed to dictate the physical play.
The Cru were the aggressors in the final period and at moments seemed to be causing the Cats to react and chase. Just 2:43 into the 3rd and the Crusaders would score again with the man advantage and momentum in their favour. The home side would find their balance again and re-establish the 4 goal cushion with 9 minutes remaining. The final goal of the night was a spectacular shot fake by Chase Visser that had everyone in the building including the Crusader goaltender Gus Bylin looking for the puck before he slid it across to Jared Miller for a back door touch, counting as his first of the season. A goal many including Miller himself would say was well overdue. Dube on the goal and play of Miller, “Miller’s had a tough go with injuries to start off the year and he’s finding his October rhythm in December, I think Viss’ fake slap shot faked out everyone in the rink and a nice finish by Miller going to the net. He’s game went to a new level after it”.
Special teams are such an integral part of any win in hockey. On the surface it would seem the Bobcats are struggling with those stat lines. However the powerplay goal by Mack Stewart Wednesday evening would improve their success rate to 20% in the month of December. The overall number on the season certainly dragged down by a rough September. Dube understands better than anyone the importance of producing with the extra attacker, ” Our power play has continued to slowly grow with players understanding and identifying the little areas that are going to elevate it as a whole. It was a good night of creating opportunity on it, we will continue to work and build on it “.
The Bobcats will have contests in Blackfalds Friday and Drayton Valley Saturday before players are able to go their separate ways and get away for some true home cooking. They’ll be back at the CCC the 29th to try and close out 2021 with a win against Bonnyville.