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Written by Shane Tomayer
Elton John told us all that Saturday night is alright for fighting however the Bobcats and Grande Prairie Storm couldn’t wait quite that long.
The two teams played Friday night for the third time in under a week. The first two contests were well fought with the Cats coming out on top both times in GP. Friday the Cats would play at home for the first time since January 5th their last game before entering into Covid protocols. This game like the previous two was spirited with plenty of physical play and clearly some animosity between the two sides. Which coach Dube said was to be expected “playing a team three times in a matter of 5 days will always have some extra flare to it”. That extra flare came in the dying seconds. As Matthew Swanson sent a puck some 175′ to the empty Storm goal things escalated quickly. He s started skating towards the bench to celebrate his first of the night and what would cap a 5-3 victory. He didn’t get there before realizing behind him a melee had started.
The lone registered fight came between rookie defenceman Jack Parker and Storm captain Nate Bierd in what had fans buzzing for a spirited feather weight dust up. It was the lone fight, however the Storm zone was a veritable yard sale of sticks and helmets scattered across the Civic Centre ice. Surely a boil over of frustration from a Storm team who had given up another lead and ultimately another win to the Bobcats.
The late festivities that had the officials call the game with 0.2 seconds left to play was really the icing on the cake of what was a highly entertaining game. The home fans were able to see the Bobcats latest additions for the first time since the CJHL trade deadline. Hassan Akl and Jordan Borysiuk put on an offensive display each recording a points in the game with each also making highlight real plays and finding iron as well. Nigel Dube continues to be pleased with the added offence. “We knew what we were getting adding them to our group, they probably both wish they had a couple more last night that went in but they are generating opportunities off playing the game the right way and it pays off”.
Also of note we’re the two assists of Nik Hoogendoorn and the pair of goals by Ethan Aucoin – which started the Cats offence as well as adding the game winner. Aucoin has grown as much as any player on the roster and expanded his 200′ game. Dube commented on his growth, “He played the last 1:14 and has been a player relied on of late on the PK. When a player understands what it takes to become a well rounded player, put in the work on the ice and in the video sessions, they see those situations. He challenges himself every day”.
The Bobcats look to build on the win as they continue to push for home ice advantage come playoff time. Saturday night they will face off against the Drayton Valley Thunder who enter Lloydminster 4th in the North division 6 points up on the Bobcats who have 2 games in hand. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 at the CCC.