By Shane Tomayer
Goal Highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apMPAuqa03w
The Bobcats were home for the weekend with a pair of games against the Ft McMurray Oil Barons. The Oil Barons who sit second in the AJHL North had won 5 in a row coming to the border. The Bobcats, who continue to work at climbing their way up the ranks knew they’d be in for a challenge.
The Cats chased all game Friday. The Mob opened the scoring then would add to it for a two goal lead. But Zafir Rawji would bend the twine twice to tie the score. The two squads would trade goals before the 3rd but two more goals in the final frame for the visitors – including an empty net goal – would seal the Bobcats fate on night one.
Evaluation from the coaching staff after Friday was simple. This was a game the Bobcats could or should have won. The home side out chanced the leagues most northern team but the Mob simply made more of the chances that they had.
Fast forward to Saturday evening. Same place, same start time. Maybe the biggest difference for the Bobcats in game two of the weekend was that Freddie Halyk would get the start. In his young AJHL career he has yet to record a win though he has put up several strong performances. Saturday unfortunately would be more of the same for the goaltender from Calgary.
Halyk was however one of the brightest stars in black and orange on this night. He was strong all game long allowing just 2 goals against and was perfect through 40 minutes.
The Cats struggled to convert on chances they’d created. Fincaryk did capitalize on a turnover and put one past the other side in the third however that wouldn’t be enough. In a busy third period the Oil Barons would score a pair of even strength goals before a Hassan Akl empty net goal would close out the game with 31 seconds on the clock.
Without bias one could easily say the Bobcats were the better team in one or both weekend contests. Their last 5 games (while all losing affairs) against the leagues top 4 teams have shown the growth of an organization moving in the right direction.
Coach Dube on the weekend match up commented, “we have to be at our best every game we play, we know that. When we get chances they have to count and we missed out on that in one goal games were the difference. Close isn’t enough anymore and our guys know that.”
The Bobcats next action is on the road Wednesday night (December 1st) before returning to the Civic on Friday and Saturday to host the Kodiaks and the Bulldogs respectively.