Saturday evening over 800 fans braved the cold to take in hockey at the Civic Centre. Bobcats last action saw them face off 6 days earlier in Calgary against the very same Canucks they would play in Lloydminster. On the 7th the Bobcats were playing their third game in as many days and fell to the Canucks 3-0.
First period saw both teams fighting the puck with neither side being able to find the back of the net. In the middle frame however Ben Aucoin would strike twice within a minute to give the home side a firm lead prior to the third. The closing period was another close battle with Aucoin nearly completing the hat trick on an empty net had Canucks forward Riley Bracko not stretched out to make a glove save in the final minutes. Bracko was nowhere near the net however when Brody Juck sent a puck from near his own goal line into the open Canucks goal to ice the game with under 2 minutes remaining.
Ultimately the first goal of the game – Aucoins 17th of the season – would be all they needed with Jack Solomon between the pipes. Solomon stopped all 32 shots faced Saturday night, recording his 4th shut out of the season. Impressive as that is all four have come in the last 7 games. It also put the St Louis backstop into 2nd across AJHL goaltenders in shutouts. On the teams number one netminder the Bobcats bench boss was less than shocked and more than pleased, “I don’t think there’s much that I can say. The numbers speak for themselves. He’s in a real good groove right now and I wish we were playing tomorrow. That’s what you want is your goalies to catch forward like that. Real proud for Jack he’s a good kid and well deserved.”
Brad Rihela was quite satisfied with the bounce back and the effort level of his club, “Very proud of the group right from the net out. Our PK was excellent, details were really strong and again we’re finding ways to win hockey games.”
On the two goal performance by Aucoin, Rihela attributed it to much more than just puck luck, “It was a really solid game from him. He had a couple really good shot blocks too. I thought he was really responsible. When you’re responsible on the defensive side of the puck you get the breaks on offense, and he doesn’t need too many chances to put the puck home.”
This most recent win improves the record to 23-21 and just one point behind Drumheller in 6th spot. Currently the Cats sit tied for 7th in the AJHL standings and in a home ice position for the first round of the playoffs.
With Sunday’s matinee against the Brooks Bandits postponed the Bobcats next action will come January 19th and 20th when former Bobcats assistant coach Carter Duffin will make his return to the border city leading the Fort McMurray Oil Barons. January 4th Duffin was named interim Head Coach and General Manager after the departure of Adam Manna – who had joined the club in 2021. Stay tuned to the Bobcats App and social media streams for game day updates and promotions.