By Shane Tomayer
Wednesday night the Bobcats looked to bounce back after dropping two in a row to Whitecourt including the shootout loss Saturday night.
The Cats knew they needed to make some adjustments and for Nigel Dube that meant adjusting 3 of 4 lines and working with some new combinations. “It’s a matter of finding balance through the line up, right now it also depends who we have available each night and is healthy. We needed to find more consistency from last weekend and it’s likely they will change again this weekend.” Notably Dube had broken up his heavy line of MacLean/Schendel/Hoogendoorn and spread that muscle through the line up. It paid off having a checker on each line.
Through mid December the Cats had relied heavily on the offensive output of Tanner Fincaryk and his point per game pace. Most any player at any level will have ups and downs though and over the prior 10 games Fincaryk had put up just 2 points and hadn’t scored since December 18th. Numerous factors can result in a lull in production for any player and whatever it was for the Calahoo product seemed to be resolved Wednesday night starting when he pounced on a puck early to start the nights scoring. Asked about his veteran forward Dube commented, “It was a good game for Finny to get a bounce back, he’s obviously a big part of our offence and we need him going. I think he seen tonight when you play the game the right way and go that extra foot or two in getting to the hard areas and creating more outlets good things will happen. Our expectation is for him to be contributing every night.” Fincaryk would add an empty net goal late in the game to put the icing on the strong team victory.
All told the game plan was to come with more energy through the line up and through a full 60. Each game in the mid season series has been very close and the 4-1 win Wednesday resulted in the cats coming out with 5 of a possible 8 points over the stretch. Also scoring Wednesday were Ben Bygrove with a power play goal from the blueline. Aucoin would also notch his 27th on the season in the second period when a pass from behind the net went off a defender and in. Bygrove and Aucoin would each pick up an assist as well, with Hassan Akl continuing his point per game trend (as a Bobcat) notching a pair of assists on the evening.
Dube was naturally pleased with the result, “I thought we came out early and supported pucks in all three zones, we were able to play a quicker game and our transition was a lot better because of it. Our discipline needs to be better, we took too many penalties in the second but the PK came up big.”
The Bobcats will look to find victory with a view on Friday when they head to Canmore before a Saturday match up in Olds. Next action at the Civic comes Monday the 7th when they will face off with North rival Drayton Valley.