Bralin Technology Solutions Family Weekend Recap
by Shane Tomayer
The Bobcats organization has had this past weekend circled on the calendar since shortly after the 23/24 schedule was determined. Not due to a pair of home games after a long road trip – it doesn’t hurt. But more so because it was family weekend. Players families from across North America congregated in the border city to see their athletes play live and also meet their extended Bobcats family. After Sundays match General Manager Nigel Dube spoke on the importance of the weekend every season, “It was very special to be able to get all the families here over the course of the weekend. As an organization it is something we take great pride in each and every year. This year we planned to have it earlier in season as we see more families travel to watch their kids play, this way more families know each other and the billet families when they visit. We also take great pride in our community and want the families to be able to enjoy it and everything that makes the Border City special”.
Family members traveled from as far as 4400 km’s (2734mi) to take in the weekends double header against the Okotoks Oilers. The two teams had faced off twice earlier in the season. Both games were lopsided wins for the Oilers, and the Cats would be looking for retribution. First things first the team, billets and families were able to break bread at the Gold Horse Casino Friday evening. Gold Horse staff put together an amazing meal for the group who were able to enjoy the evening with introductions and fellowship.
Saturday evening the friends and families re-convened at the Civic Center as part of a season high nearly 1100 fans to watch the Black and Orange take on the Oilers. Okotoks opened the scoring 5 minutes into the first period, but within the next 5 minutes Cabana and Setter had each scored to put the home side ahead by a goal. Goals were traded before the end of the first and after 20 minutes the Cats lead 3-2. Goals were traded again in the second period leaving the final 20 minutes for the Bobcats to hold on to a one goal lead. The third period was tight. Okotoks coming off a Friday night loss to the Pontiacs were desperate to avoid losing back to back games for only the third time this season. Their efforts in the final frame reflected it but the Cats staved off the rush and scored with a minute left to ice the cake and push themselves into a 4 way tie for seventh in the league. In addition to scoring 5 goal Jack Solomon back stopped the team with a 37 save performance.
The game was action packed and had fans cheering the full 60. The Bobcats played fast and physical and were rewarded for their efforts. The Bobcats family enjoyed a post game meal provided by Diamond 7 Meats and celebrated the victory.
Sunday afternoon the Bobcats looked to make it 5 straight wins and get above .500 for the first time since early October. Again the Oilers struck first, 4 minutes into the opening period. The Bobcats did not lay down however and by the end of the first the score was even at one. An electric 7 goal second period had the Cats ahead by one going into the final frame again. Setter scored his 13th of the season early in the third to provide insurance on a great feed from MacGillivray out of the corner. It would be for not however. By the 8 minute mark the game was tied. The two remained locked until a pass from behind Sebastian Resar set up Hunter Sawka for the game winning goal with less than a minute remaining in regulation time. The Bobcats pushed with Resar on the bench and an extra attacker on-ice, and while the came close they wouldn’t even the score.
While the result was not what the Bobcats were looking for the effort was not to be questioned according to coach Rihela, “Effort is never an issue with our group. That’s something we’re very proud of here. I’ll never doubt the effort. Tonight it was just execution and details on the defensive side of the puck. When we find a way to score 6 you gotta win those games”.
There was plenty of upside to the weekend. Maybe most notably was the play of Caden Cabana who registered 4 goals and added an assist against the Oilers. Beyond the last two games Cabana has points in 11 straight – 21 points to be specific. Rihela spoke on the Bobcats captain, “Some school needs to give this guy a scholarship, he’s the real deal. I’ve never been more sure of anything. He does it all for us and somebody is going to be real lucky when they pull the trigger on committing to him”. High praise for sure. As a side Cabana came into the 23/24 campaign with 18 goals on his career, he has 17 through the first 25 games of the season.
Dalton MacGillivray matched Cabanas 5 point weekend, while Blake Setter also notched 4 points of his own.
Next Bobcat action comes Wednesday in Sherwood Park before they return home for a pair of weekend games against the Storm.