Cats down Oilers Friday night
Presented by Bralin Technology Solution
by Shane Tomayer
It had been nearly 3 weeks since the Bobcats played on home ice, and you’d have to go back to October 11 for the last time the home fans got to see a Bobcats win. But anyone who knows hockey knows that sometimes a road trip is the best thing for a team. Over two trips the Cats played 5 games on the road, winning their last two against North division rivals and going 3-2 overall, turning their way back to .500 hockey in the process.
Remembrance Day was a chance for a win back at home on a special day where pre-game the organization had a brief ceremony celebrating those who have provided us the freedoms we take for granted every day. Freedoms like spending an evening at the Civic Centre watching or playing hockey.
The Okotoks Oilers beat the Cats on October 29 in Okotoks by a final of 7-5. A high scoring affair for both sides but one where the Bobcats fought back to make it close. Friday the Cats would seek redemption on home ice.
After their last match up where it seemed every shot for either side found the back of the net the two teams and fans in attendance would need to wait. They would wait nearly 40 minutes before Nik Hoogendoorn collected a rebound in his own end and marched down the right side wall. It developed a 3 on 1 where he looked off the goalie, before sending the puck over Parker Sawkas glove with under a minute left in period 2.
Fans were truly treated. While it took the better part of 2 periods to get a goal for either side the pace was quick from the opening puck drop. Plenty of checking and strong play for both squads. Which continued in to the third period.
Okotoks would even the score just over 2 minutes into the final frame. A slap shot from the blue line found its way through traffic and past Matthew Syverson who it seemed had no lane to see the puck.
Jack Parker would re-take the lead while on the power play 3 minutes later. The Spruce Grove product was on the right side and after some smooth puck movement received a great feed from Jordan Borysiuk that left the goalie exposed for Parker to score his 4th goal in his last 3 games.
A one goal lead is never safe however until the final buzzer sounds. With just under 15 minutes left in regulation there was plenty of hockey to be played. The Oilers would even the score again 7 minutes after the Parker goal, it was starting to feel like this game was destined for OT.
However 2 minutes after the second Oilers goal Andon Coles executed a take away deep inside the Cats own zone. He quickly moved it to the far right side for Aucoin who would carry it the rest of the way through the neutral zone. With two defenders collapsing towards his side Aucoin got creative and fired the puck off the end wall creating a rebound to the slot. Krulicki already headed in that direction benefited from his defender and the two on Aucoin reacting as though the puck was being sent behind the goal. With an open path Krulicki picked up the puck and wasted no time putting it past Sawka for the game winning goal. The goal was Krulickis third in his last 4 contests and 5th as a Bobcat – worth noting three of the 5 are game winning goals. Regarding the newest Bobcat Nigel Dube was pleased, “he’s had time to settle in with the league and his line mates. He has a lethal shot and we’ve been seeing him use it more”.
Truly the atmosphere was positive around the CCC before and after the game. Dube was happy with what he saw after the Cats lost the last contest vs the Oilers, “I thought our game down in Okotoks we played well but didn’t get the end result. I think that fed into our guys energy tonight and you could feel it early at the rink. It was definitely a solid effort, part of the second period we had holes in our game but the boys stuck with it.”
The Bobcats have won 4 of their last 6 and that has at least in part been due to goaltending. Halyk had a shut out in his last start and now Syverson has won his last 2 games which combined for a 2.00 GAA and a .937 sv%. After the win Dube talked about the goalies play of late, it was also a commentary on the rest of the line up, “He’s found his stride. We’ve used al the bodies up and down the line up and guys are stepping up”.
The Cats will keep the home fire burning. Next action is Sunday the 13th at home vs the Drumheller Dragons. Puck drop is 2:30 and following the game young fans will have a chance to skate with the Bobcats.