Cru score with 7 seconds to go to edge the Bobcats in Game 1.
-Recaps by Shane-
The winds of change have been gusting far less as of late in Bobcat Country and evidence of that was all over the Sherwood Park arena, where the Lloydminster club traveled for their first game of the development/exhibition season. It?s become common place the last number of seasons for the border city hockey faithful to have to memorize an entirely new set of names and numbers. Tonight as the Cats took on the Crusaders there were 12 familiar veterans adorning the Bobcats road colours.
However wasn?t just the veterans who stood out on this evenings hard fought 3-2 loss. Several rookies and new acquisitions stood out. Coach Nigel Dube had plenty to say post game about the rosters make up, ?I thought our players who had their first taste of junior hockey showed very good potential moving forward. Ethan (Aucoin) had a lot of puck touches and was the shooter that we saw in him recruiting. Dalton (Irvine) found his offence early. Overall I think the guys who played in their first junior game seen how much emotion and compete there is. It grew as the game went on as a whole with our group.?
One area on the Bobcats side that left plenty of room for a curious raised eyebrow would be between the pipes. Via trade and recruitment Dias and Larsen were replaced with Kolby Thornton and Axel Rosenlund. It would be Winnipeg?s Kolby Thornton who would find himself in net for the first match up. Coach Dube was happy with what he saw, ?Kolby was solid in between the pipes. He made big stops when we needed them and showed how he is very composed and his junior maturity. ?
The Crusaders opened the scoring on the Bobcats with goals late in period one and midway through the second. Then just 33 seconds after the 2-0 goal Marwayne Albertas Dalton Irvine sent a puck towards the goal, that former AAA Bobcat Matthew Swanson would deflect to bring the game within one. When asked about one of the newest Bobcats and making the jump from the U18 club Dube reflected on the journey to acquire him, ?Swanson has intrigued me for several years in recruiting. He?s always been able to find the net at every level he has played. He has a quiet personality and goes about his business, isn?t afraid to go to the tough areas. Is nice to have a player come through our local system and we are excited to see him grow in junior hockey.?
Nearly a full 20 minutes of game time later into the final frame Irvine would gain the Crusaders zone and finish on a give and get with veteran (Cam) Aucoin To tie things at a pair a piece, Skehar with the secondary assist.
The two teams would continue to trade chances and powerplays through regulation until with just 7 seconds left in regulation Magis would throw a Hail Mary towards the net from below the goal line that would find its way off Thornton and into the goal for the win.
All things considered Coach Dube was pleased with the outcome. ?I thought overall for the first game we did good things, we grew as the game went on and I thought we managed the puck and created opportunities.?
The Bobcats outshot the host club 25/23 in the opener of this two team cohort. They will face the Crusaders again Saturday night, a game that can be watched on Hockey TV.