Drayton Valley Thunder vs Lloydminster Bobcats Saturday, November 2nd, 2019
Written by: Tyler Campbell
I won’t be starting off this piece talking about how the Cats deserved better on Saturday night at the Civic Centre. I won’t be talking about how close they were. I won’t be talking about how they’re a bounce away. I won’t be talking about any of that, because the Cats hard work was finally rewarded on Saturday night as the team walked away with their first home win of the season by a 4-2 score over the team they’re chasing in the standings the Drayton Valley Thunder.
It was a very complete game by the Cats. They didn’t play like a team who had caught so many bad breaks in the last few weeks. Several of their latest home games were there for the taking, and whatever could go wrong, would go wrong. I think back to one goal loses to Whitecourt, Bonnyville, Fort McMurray, and Friday night against this same Drayton Valley team. On those nights, I’m not sure the team had the belief that they were good enough and deserved to win those games. Saturday night however, specifically when the score was tied at 1, the Cats didn’t panic. They got back to work and wrestled the momentum away from the Thunder. They weren’t going to be denied this time around.
Mack Stewart opened the scoring with his first goal in the AJHL. Kaeden Tenkoppel and Brendan Morrow were both available options for Stewart to dish to, but he caught Thunder netminder Eric Ward anticipating the pass and put a wrist shot top shelf to give the Cats a 1-0 lead, and would remain that way after 20 minutes of play.
Brett Bamber evened things up for the Thunder at 4:12 of the 2nd frame catching Josh Dias slightly off his left post and was able to bank it in. However the Bobcats would get that one back a little over 11 minutes later on the power play as a Gunner Kinniburgh shot from the point would be blocked, but allowed Cameron Aucoin enough time and space to put it past Ward and restore the Cats lead. They would extend that lead before the 2nd was done with a point shot from Tegan Skehar for his first AJHL goal.
After what happened the previous night, I fully expected the Cats to leave nothing to chance in the 3rd and they did not disappoint. Kaeden Tenkoppel would put the final dagger into the Thunder at 10:12 of the period has he let go a perfectly placed wrist shot, top corner on Ward to give the Cats a 4-1 lead. The Thunder would get a power play goal at 16:39 by Matthew Byrne to keep it close, but the Cats locked it down and skated away with a 4-2 victory. After what seemed like such a disappointment on Friday night, the Cats end up taking 3 of a possible 4 points on the weekend.
After the game, head coach Nigel Dube was proud of the way his team battled. “They found ways throughout the 2nd and 3rd to continue to push and create bounces. You work towards that team effort that they really dialled in tonight and bought into.” However, there is little time for the team to pat themselves on the back as next up for the Cats is a date Wednesday with the North division leading Sherwood Park Crusaders. The Cats came out on the short end of a wild 7-5 game the last time they were in Sherwood Park, and coach Dube feels confident his team can give the Crusaders another tough test. “We’re a team that is playing pretty free hockey. We’re playing free and fun and we need to continue to do that. Hard work is fun and we’re having fun right now”.
That game vs the Crusaders is a noon start time on Wednesday as it’ll be hockey hooky day in Sherwood Park, and will be available on Hockey TV. The Bobcats then come home for another two game set next weekend as they play host to the Canmore Eagles on Friday night, and the Calgary Canucks on Saturday night. Start time for both games will be 7:30. As always, if you can’t make it down to the Civic Centre, Shane Tomayer and myself will have the action for you on Hockey TV or on the MixLR app.
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