Bralin Technology Solutions Recap

Bobcats Beat Dragons

Game Recaps are sponsored by Bralin Technology Solutions

By Shane Tomayer

Night number two of the AJHL season was another full schedule across the league, and once more the Bobcats faced-off against a non-traditional opponent.  Drumheller won their season opener in Bonnyville Friday night and made their way south to the border city.  Perennially strong finishes in the old South Division and a decisive 5-1 win Friday over the Pontiacs told the Bobcats this would not be a walk in the park.

It was just 1:10 into the opening frame when Henderson would open the scoring for the Dragons.  But 4 minutes later two new Bobcats would connect for their first points in the black and orange.  Steinke (from the Bobcat zone) found Blake Setter at the far end of neutral ice springing him for a breakaway and ultimately the equalizer.
A few minutes later Cabana would score his second of the early season, banking one off a defender to give the Bobcats the lead for the first time.
Each side would add a pair more goals before the end of the first period. Leaving the Bobcats with a 4-3 lead headed to the second period.  Mittoo and Fendelet were both rewarded with their first of the season as well.
The second period was not as planned for the Bobcats coaching staff.  The middle 20 was simply dominated by the Dragons.  Shooting on the Flo Stream shot clock was very lopsided in the middle frame with the dragons firing 21 at Jack Solomon with the home side returning the favor a paltry 5 times.  But as he did Friday night Solomon kept the Bobcats in it and allowed only 1 goal against through the onslaught.  Asked about the message in the second period Brad Rihela said there was no definite message, “We tried to lift their spirits a bit.  We let them know they had 20 minutes to win a hockey game on home ice so let’s go out there and get it done.”
The message worked, but not without adversity early in the final period.The Dragons scored first in the third period, just 51 seconds into the frame.  Then 6 minutes later Aucoin would jump on a Cabana rebound and put away his second of the season.
From there with the game tied at 5 the Bobcats fully turned the momentum of the game and dictated play to the Dragons.  With under 4 minutes to go Blake Setter bullied his way to the goal front where he retrieved a puck off the end wall and scored his second of the night (4th point of the game).  That marker would ultimately stand as the game winner for the Bobcats. Not however before Dalton MacGillvary would score on an empty net – where Setter would pick up his third assist and 5th point of the game.
Setter was humble about recording 5 points in just his second game as a Bobcat.”5 points doesn’t really matter.  It’s the two points that matter.  It’s nice to score but the boys helped me out on all those.  Steinks gave me a great pass on the first one and it was easy from there”.
Setter will be a player to watch this season.  Clearly has a fine skill set but size to go with it.  With performances like Saturday night it won’t be long for him to endear himself to border city hockey fans.  Coach Rihela spoke about the play of his veteran forward, “He was hard to play against all over the ice tonight.  He put his body in front of everything and was super committed.  He was all over the place tonight, played like a veteran and exactly like the player we were hoping we were getting when we acquired him.”
Rihela was clearly pleased with the moxy the Cats showed fighting back after a rough second period making for a perfect opening weekend. “A lot of commitment.  A lot of sacrifice.  Wasn’t a textbook or pretty game, a lot of mistakes were made, but you can never question our guys’ willingness to compete to the end of the game. I was proud of them tonight.”
Bobcats coaches and players will look now towards their next test coming Wednesday night back at the Civic Centre.  The test stands to be a difficult one as the Sherwood Park Crusaders will make their way east to the border.