Saints Score with 67 Seconds Left to Win

Saints Score with 67 seconds left in a nail biter game Tuesday at the Civic!

Bralin Technology Goal Highlights

Article by Shane Tomayer

The Bobcats players and coaches knew they were in for a tough match up Tuesday evening. Visiting the Civic Centre were the Spruce Grove Saints. The Saints arrived in Lloydminster 6-1 on the season, tied for the league lead in goals for, and ranked 12th in the CJHL national rankings. Averaging more than 5 goals per game coming into Lloydminster they would be tough to put the reins on.

From the opening face off it was clear why Spruce Grove has enjoyed early season success. It was equally clear that the home side was going to give them all they could handle. These are not the Bobcats of the not too distant past.  The 22/23 Cats have come to compete and it’s clear.
The visiting side opened the scoring 1:13 into the first on a shot that seemingly had eyes as it found its way through traffic and passed goaltender Matt Syverson – who was seeing his first home ice start of the season. The Bobcats answered on a power play late in the opening frame when Borysiuk made the most of a loose puck in the crease and evened the score.
The second period showed how even these two teams may be. It was back and forth chances traded at either end. Just over the midway point of the period the Saints were given a 5 minute charging penalty giving the home side a golden opportunity to take the lead. Technically speaking the Cats didn’t capitalize on the long man advantage. However the player serving the penalty may not have had both skates on the ice yet when Borysiuk fired past a screen to take the lead, for the first time.
The Bobcats held on to that one goal lead past the midway point of the third period and into the dying minutes.  With just under 6 minutes left in regulation the Saints captain slipped back door received a pass from the far point and evened the score at 2.  Both teams kept their foot on the gas and it seemed like overtime was all but certain with both goaltenders locking down, until just over a minute left when a quick play off a face off win brought the puck across the crease where Saints forward Caden Cabana slipped one past Syverson for the late lead.  While the Cats would push to the very last second they couldn’t even the score and would lose in regulation.
While a loss recorded as a loss in the standings there were plenty of positives.  The Cats maintained their disciplined play.  They had three minor penalties in the match, and were successful in killing off each of them.  A relatively young squad showed no sign of intimidation against a very strong visiting team.  Nigel Dube was very pleased with what he saw after the Cats got behind one early, “Resilience was the big part, they pushed and pushed.  Hit a lot of bars and had the chances.  We needed one or two to go in.”   He continued, “We had chances and needed one of them to go in.  We were down to 10 forwards and 5 D after Olson took the hit to the head.  It was a Gutsy push”.
There was a scary moment in the third where Bobcats star forward Matthew Swanson was tangled in an awkward check in the defensive zone.  On one skate he limped his way to the bench and it looked as though he was out of the game and quite possibly longer.  The veteran forward fought through and returned to the game creating several more chances including a bullet that will have arena staff checking the integrity of the crossbar it hit.  Asked about the effort, toughness and leadership shown by Swanson, Dube was proud, “Valuable lesson tonight.  You see the fight in a guy like Swanson to push through with how bad he wants it”.
Losing a lead late in a game can be a back breaker but certainly provides building blocks when the coach finds the silver lining, “Tough one to swallow.  I thought our group out played and out chanced them and they got a bounce off a broken play, not much had to be said to the group, it stung”.
The Bobcats will have a bit of time to look at the loss and learn from it.  Their next action comes Tuesday the 11th back at home where they will face their nearest rival the Bonnyville Pontiacs for the first time this season.