Back on January 17th, the Bobcats hosted the then number 1 ranked team in the CJHL, the Brooks Bandits. The Bobcats came out on top of that one for their biggest win of the season by a score of 4-3. 27 days later, they once again played host to the top ranked team in the CJHL, but this time it was the Sherwood Park Crusaders, a team that had beat up on the Bobcats the last time they were in town by a score of 8-1. But this was not the same Bobcats team that the Crusaders faced back on December 22nd.
Alex Danis got things started for the Cats at 13:06 of the 1st period…sort of. Former Crusader Cam Aucoin gained the zone and dished off to Brendan Morrow who put the puck on goal. Danis in front got a stick on it, the save was made by Crusaders starter Jordan Frey, but then deflected off Will Zapernick and into his own net. It doesn’t matter how, it’s how many and the Bobcats had 1. They got a 2nd just before the 1st period ended as Ty Mosimann sent a pass over to Aucoin and he found the back of the net from the slot and the Cats went to the dressing room with a big 2-0 lead.
The Bobcats momentum would carry over to the 2nd period as just 1:54 into the frame as Frey would rob Sam Carper with the initial scoring chance, but then Jared Miller was able to find the rebound and put it in for a 3-0 lead. That would be the end of the night for Jordan Frey who was the recipient of some very bad bounces, and the Crusaders would turn to Carter Gylander for the rest of the night. But it would be the starting netminder at the other end of the ice who was the story in this game, and at 3-0 the game turned into the Garrett Larsen show. Larsen, who was rewarded with his 2nd straight start after one of his finest performances of the season in the Cats win on Saturday, was even better on this night making several tremendous stops to keep it a 3-0 game. Before the period was done, Brendan Morrow would make it a 4-0 game as Gylander had trouble with the Tegan Skehar point shot, and Morrow was there to put it in. 4-0 Cats after 40 minutes, and Larsen was up to 36 saves on the evening.
Even at 4-0, I don’t believe that anyone on the Cats bench assumed the game was done facing the top team in the nation, and as expected the Crusaders came at the Cats hard. It wasn’t until 12:50 of the period, their 45th shot, Gylander out and the Crusaders on the power-play that the Crusaders finally broke through on Larsen as Reid Irwin put in a rebound. Sherwood Park got another quick one off the stick of the leading scorer in the AJHL Arjun Atwal to make it 4-2. The Crusaders continued to put the pressure on, but the Bobcats did a good job from that point defending the 2 goal lead and finally at 18:19 it would be Tanner Mack putting it into the empty net for the Bobcats and putting the game on ice. The Crusaders ended up putting 53 shots on Garrett Larsen by the end of the night, but they could only get two of those pucks past the Wisconsin native, who needless to say was spectacular for the Cats this evening.
I caught up with Bobcats head coach after the game who had these thoughts on his teams performance. “I thought that our guys came prepared to work, and it continued on from last week. I thought we got out shot at the start, but we didn’t give up great chances and we stuck with it. And we’ve talked a lot about throwing pucks towards the net, and we did that and we found ways to convert on their turnovers and score some goals.” I asked Dube specifically about Larsen’s performance. “The tandem that we have back there with JD and Larss is huge, and for Larss to come in again was a big test to go back to back and he came through. Both goalies have everyone’s confidence throughout the room. Tonight Larss came up with some big saves at big times and guys rallied around that.”
The Bobcats will go for their 3rd straight win this Saturday as they head up to Fort McMurray to take on the Oil Barons. Puck drop for that one at the Casman Centre will be 7:30 and you can catch all the action on Hockey TV as Taylor Pope will have the call on that one. The Cats are only in action one more time at home for the 2019-2020 season, that being on Wednesday February 26th as they play host to the Olds Grizzlys. That one will get underway at 7:30, however if you are unable to make it down to the Civic Centre, Shane Tomayer and myself will have the call for you both on Hockey TV, and on the MixLR app!
There was 8:52 to play in the 3rd period when Brendan Morrow gained the zone on Saturday night at the Centennial Civic Centre against the Drayton Valley Thunder. The Thunder had a 2-0 lead. Shots were 39-24, also in favour of the Thunder. And Morrow was on his own as the rest of his line-mates were making a change, so he was 1 on 4. This game simply had a feeling that it just wasn’t going to be the Bobcats night…
After a fast paced 1st period between the two teams produced zero’s on the scoreboard, the Thunder got it rolling in the 2nd. Colson Gegenbach, after hitting the crossbar early in his shift, and then getting stopped point blank by Cats starter Garrett Larsen, refused to be denied as he one-timed a puck that bounced off the boards perfectly for him to hammer home and the Thunder had a 1-0 lead. The Thunder continued to tilt the ice and finally were rewarded with their 2nd goal of the frame as Bailey Tomminga drilled one past Larsen from the right dot that was in off the back crossbar, wouldn’t be shocked if it made a dent, and the Thunder not only had a 2-0 lead but were all over the Cats. Shots in the 2nd were 19-9 for the Thunder in the period, and the scoring chances were likely more lopsided than that for Drayton Valley. Following the game Bobcats head coach Nigel Dube said of the period “I thought in the 2nd period we were awful, and there’s no other way to put it. We didn’t compete hard, we cheated the game, and they got 2.”
As things got going in the 3rd, the Bobcats weren’t able to generate much. They were executing better, but the ice was still tilted in Drayton Valley’s favour as Larsen was doing everything he could to keep it a 2-0 game, and he did just that making two or three excellent saves, and finished the evening with an outstanding 38 saves on 40 shots sent his way by the Thunder. Then came that Morrow zone entry…
As I said, 1 on 4 didn’t give Morrow many options and the Thunder were able to corral the puck, but couldn’t get it out past Cats defenceman Cole Jungwirth who threw the puck to the slot. With Morrow having worked his way into the slot, he had the presence of mind to find Chance Adrian, fresh off the bench and all alone behind him in the slot and Adrian buried it to not only make it a 2-1 game but completely ignite his hockey team. I asked Dube after the game about the impact that goal had on the team. “I think you would have felt like the game could have been a 4 or 5-0 game before that goal, and then when you cut the lead in half it revives everyone and that was what we said at the media time out. And then a big power-play.” That big power-play Dube referenced came with 6:37 to play as the Cats, already with a 5 on 4 advantage caught a break when Drayton Valley got caught with too many men on the ice. It didn’t take the Cats long as Ty Mosimann cashed on the 5 on 3 and all of a sudden it was a tied game. But the Cats weren’t done there as just 3:12 later and with only 3:00 to play the Cats won a big draw in the Thunder zone and it would be a shot from the point off the stick of Gunner Kinniburgh finding the back of the net, and the comeback was complete. The Cats locked things down in the final 2:55 after the Kinniburgh goal and walk out of the Centennial Civic Centre a VERY happy group after the 3-2 victory.
“I was proud of our effort and what we did to come back in the 3rd period. We persevered, and found a way. It was a gutsy effort and proud of how they responded to the 2nd, and the effort throughout this week was pretty good” Dube said following the game. 1-1-1 record against 3 of the top 5 teams in the AJHL North absolutely is a heck of an effort by the Bobcats. And not only a good effort, but the one thing that has become very noticeable with this hockey club as the season has moved along is the resiliency. Early in the season, I don’t believe they come back from a 4-1 deficit in Bonnyville as they did Wednesday night. Early in the season, I don’t believe they give the Spruce Grove Saints the fits that they did on Friday night. And early in the season, I don’t believe they fight back from the 2nd period that they had Saturday night to pull out a victory. They’re really starting to grow as a group.
The next time you have the chance to see that growth will be Wednesday night at the Civic Centre when the number one ranked team in the CJHL, the Sherwood Park Crusaders come to town to take on the Bobcats. The last time the Bobcats took on the number one ranked team in the CJHL was just a little over 3 weeks ago when they defeated the Brooks Bandits by a score of 4-3. Will history repeat itself? Puck drop at the Civic Centre will be 7:30 PM, and of course if you can’t make it down to the arena, Shane Tomayer and myself will have all the action for you on Hockey TV, and on the MixLR app!
The Lloydminster Bobcats were looking to build off of perhaps their most impressive weekend of the season on Wednesday evening against the Grand Prairie Storm. A 1-1 weekend may not look like much of an accomplishment, but given the two games were against the top-ranked team in the CJHL in the Brooks Bandits, and the (at the time) 6th ranked Okotoks Oilers. A 4-3 win and a hard fought 5-3 loss is a weekend any team in the AJHL would gladly take facing those two clubs. However, despite another very good effort, the puck luck simply wasn’t there and the Cats came out on the short end of the stick by a score of 3-2.
The Cats had a lot of good jump early on and just 2:20 in it was Brendan Morrow taking the pass from Chad MacLean in the slot and finding the back of the net to make it 1-0. MacLean then had a glorious opportunity to make it 2-0 as he came off the bench while the Cats controlled the puck in the Storm zone. As MacLean got in the play the puck rolled to him in the high slot which he was able to skate into and get everything behind a wrist shot. Unfortunately for MacLean and the Cats, the puck went off the crossbar. This may have been the turning point in the game, as the Storm seemed to get a lift from that break. Juliano Santalucia would tie the game for the Storm as he beat Bobcats starter Josh Dias with a good wrist shot at 10:01 of the period. Then after killing off the only man advantage of the period, the Storm would take the lead at 14:18 as the puck found the stick of Cade Mason who sent a rocket passed Dias. Ethan Strang would make it 3-1 for the Storm before the period was through and the Cats were reeling after a period of play.
Josh Dias held the fort for the Cats in the 2nd period as the Storm were throwing everything they possibly could on goal, but Dias held strong. Unfortunately for the Cats, the Storm’s starting netminder Kaeden Lane was just as good in this contest and he wasn’t going to make life easy for the Bobcats, including stopping Cam Aucoin who got in all alone short-handed in the frame. Neither goaltender was beaten in the period and it remained 3-1 heading into the 3rd.
The Cats made a strong push in the 3rd period as they looked to cut the lead to 1. A Jack Zayat cross checking penalty put the Storm down 5 on 3 for 49 seconds with 9:07 remaining in the 3rd. Off the face off one of the Storm penalty killers would break his stick, essentially putting them down 5 on 2. However “fortunately” for Lane…the net would be knocked off before the Bobcats could capitalize, and the Storm would be able to regroup and subsequently win the next face-off, clear the zone, and kill the rest of the 5 on 3. The Cats would finally break through late in the 5 on 4 power play however as a Gunner Kinniburgh point shot found it’s way to the back of the net. It appeared as though the shot was tipped in front by Nolen Coventry, but nevertheless the Cats were within 1 with 6:19 remaining. In the dying seconds the Cats made a very hard push, but once again as the Cats looked like they may be ready to tie the game, Lane once again “caught a break” with the net coming off its moorings to stop play. Credit where it’s due however, as Lane played a great game stopping 33 of 35 shots and made some big saves late in the game. The Cats were unable to capitalize with the 6th attacker on the ice, the Storm held on for the 3-2 win.
I caught up with Bobcats head coach Nigel Dube after the game who had these thoughts. “I thought we came out with a good start, we did some really good things early on, but then we got away from the hard work. They put their work boots on, and it wasn’t pretty but it started ending up in the back of our net and we simply got outworked. But we came back good and out chanced them in the 2nd, and then in the 3rd it was a nail biter right til the end. I thought we fully controlled play in the 3rd and just didn’t come up with enough. But when you don’t have your work boots on for a full 60, and we learned that the hard way tonight.” I asked the coach what he thought of Storm starter Kaeden Lane knocking his net off its moorings going uncalled late in the game and Dube simply said: “We thought they should have been called, but they weren’t and we just have to move on.”
The Bobcats are on the road this weekend with two games in Drayton Valley and one in Whitecourt sandwiched between those two games. All three games this weekend can be found on Hockey TV, puck drop for Friday’s tilt in Drayton Valley is 7 PM. The Cats next home game will be Friday, January 31st as they’ll host of the Whitecourt Wolverines. As always, if you can’t make it down to the rink, Shane Tomayer (though NOT myself as I will be out of town, much to the delight of our viewers I’m sure!) will have the call for you on Hockey TV, and on the MixLR app!
For lack of a better word, it was a special evening at the Centennial Civic Centre. It’s Gold Horse Casino family weekend, so most of the parents of the Bobcats are in town. Joining them in the Border City was the number 1 ranked team in the CJHL, the top team in the AJHL with a record of 38-3-1, the defending Centennial Cup champions, the Brooks Bandits. In case you didn’t gather it from the brief resume I just gave you…they’re pretty good! But on Friday night, the Bobcats were better as they stunned the Bandits by a score of 4-3.
The Cats showed early on that they were going to match the Bandits speed and managed to get on the board first at the 4:35 in as Cam Aucoin jammed a puck in front and Tanner Mack was Johnny on the spot to make it 1-0. The Bandits got that one back however at 7:48 as Randy Hernandez stripped Ben Bygrove of the puck deep in the Cats zone and then setup Ryan McAllister to tie the game. The Cats were not deterred though and at 13:39, after Alex Danis had a strong opportunity turned aside, Ty Mosimann showed off his patience and playmaking ability and found Brendan Morrow cross-crease who proceeded to put it in the empty net and it was 2-1 Cats. Before the opening frame was complete, Tanner Mack would add his 2nd of the game as he sent a bit of a knuckler on goal that beat Bandits netminder Pierce Charleson, and when the buzzer went to end the 1st, the scoreboard read 3-1 in favour of the home team.
In the 2nd it was a different Brooks Bandits squad. They looked to up their physical game and as you would suspect the intensity level of the game hit a peak. A total of 10 minor penalties were assessed in the period. Only one goal in the period however that came off the stick of Bandits forward Chris Pappas who made a great solo effort and then beat Josh Dias short side to cut the Cats lead to 3-2.
As great as the Bobcats effort was in the first 40 minutes of the game, the most impressive part of the evening was their 3rd period. They didn’t sit back on their 3-2 lead but rather took the play to the Bandits. Then a little over the midway point in the 3rd, Nolen Coventry took a nice outlet pass from Cam Aucoin right at centre ice and made a gorgeous…and I mean GORGEOUS flip/lead pass that Tanner Mack was able to skate into and put him in alone. Mack went five-hole on Charleson to complete the hat trick and more importantly give the Bobcats a massive insurance goal. Shortly after, Chance Adrian would be sent to the box for boarding. But the Cats penalty kill was just as impressive as their 5 on 5 play all evening. Several players sold out to block any shot they possibly could. A great example came on this PK in particular as Brendan Morrow blocked a Bandits point shot, then dove and swung with one hand on his stick to knock the puck into the neutral zone. And when the Bandits were able to get shots on goal, Josh Dias was there to make the stop, including an incredible pad save on Chris Pappas late in the Adrian penalty. The Cats finally did give up a power play goal with just 20.6 seconds remaining as the Bandits had a 6 on 4, desperate to tie the game as Trey Thomas would finally put one behind Dias. But that was as close as the Bandits would get as Dias stopped 23 of 26 shots, and the Bobcats snagged their biggest win of the season.
Going into the game, not only were the Bandits 38-3-1, they had only lost 6 games in regulation over the last two regular seasons. To say it was an impressive win for the Cats is definitely an understatement. Needless to say, Bobcats head coach Nigel Dube had a lot of thoughts on his team’s performance after the game. “I think that group just showed what they’re capable of, and that’s the biggest part of it. A full 60 minutes. And it was amazing to see from the coaching standpoint, just to kind of sit back and let the guys do their thing. And they rallied around each other throughout the entire game, executed, committed to the little areas of the game, and got rewarded in a very big way.” I asked coach Dube to put into words how special of a win it was, not only because of who they beat, but with all the parents being on hand to witness it. “When you have 17 or 18 of the 22 families here, that’s special. There’s no doubt. Brooks is a team that everybody gives their best against and hopes for the best, and we managed to get one on them. And I think it’s big for our group right now to realize what we’re capable of”.
This wasn’t some fluke victory where Josh Dias had to play the game of his life, or the Bandits had the worst luck imaginable, the Bobcats were FULL VALUE for the victory Friday night. Congratulations to the players and coaching staff who have worked their asses off all season, had a lot of brutal luck along the way (especially in tight games at the Civic Centre) and were very deserving of something good coming their way. Great job boys!!
It’s one thing to get beat and know that you deserved it. It doesn’t make anyone happy when that happens, but nevertheless…it happens. But when you get beat and deserve a better fate, those are the games that are extremely difficult to take. On Monday night at the Centennial Civic Centre, the Lloydminster Bobcats might have deserved better in their 5-2 loss to the Bonnyville Pontiacs. On Friday night, the Bobcats played an even better game against the Camrose Kodiaks and got the better of the play (5 on 5 in particular). Yet it still went unrewarded, as despite outshooting the Kodiaks 35-25, the Bobcats fell 4-3.
The Cats came out flying in the 1st period, dominating the play early and got on the board first as Ty Mosimann got the puck off a won draw by Chance Adrian. His first shot was blocked, but he got it back and rifled it top shelf on Kodiaks netminder Cole Tisdale to make it a 1-0 game. The Kodiaks managed to get that one back at the 11:32 mark of the period as Damon Zimmer put what appeared to be a harmless shot from the left boards on Josh Dias, but the puck found its way to the back of the net to tie the game. The Kodiaks gained a lot of momentum from that goal and made it 2-1 shortly after as Jarret Timmerman had a puck bounce perfectly to him in the slot off the backboards and all of a sudden the Kodiaks had the lead and would carry it into the intermission.
In the 2nd the Cats took back control of the game and were rewarded for it at the 11:24 mark of the period as Mack Stewart picked off a Kodiak pass and was able to walk in all alone and put a nice move on Tisdale to tie the game at 2. The line of Adrian, Mosimann and Stewart were tremendous for the Cats all night long as they not only produced a couple of goals, they looked dangerous every time they were on the ice producing numerous scoring chances. The Stewart goal was the only one we’d see in the 2nd, so the two teams headed to the 3rd all evened up.
In the 3rd, the Bobcats continued their strong play and you talk about getting rewarded for strong play, Jared Miller had been playing very strong hockey of late for the Cats and he finally got rewarded for that with his first AJHL goal to give the Bobcats a 3-2 lead. A similar goal to Stewart’s in that he picked off a Kodiaks attempted zone exit and took a heavy wrist shot that found its way through Tisdale. It looked as though it was the Bobcats night, but then a nightmare 3 minute stretch after the Miller goal did the Cats in as they ran into penalty trouble. A Lane Brockhoff goal on one power-play would tie it for the Kodiaks, and then a Connor Brock tally on the other power play would put the Kodiaks up 4-3 with just 4:53 to play. The Bobcats pushed hard, especially in the final minute of play, but were unable to get the equalizer and the Kodiaks escaped with the win.
“I thought we did a lot of good things, there’s a lot of positives you can take out of that game. But the minor details cost us again tonight. We out-chanced them, out-shot them, but we have to turn that into numbers on the scoreboard. A lot of positives, but they’re stinging more and more when you’re that close but you’re not getting rewarded at the end of the day” coach Nigel Dube said after the game. One of the brightest spots on the night was obviously Jared Miller getting his first AJHL goal and I got Dube’s thoughts on that. “Millsy’s done a lot of good things. He’s a sound, 200-foot player, and he’s been making some plays. Systematic wise, it was a great read, broke it up, and has a good shot on goal which he’s capable of doing. So it was good to see”.
The Bobcats are back in action next weekend as they hit the road for a Southern road trip starting in Calgary Friday night. Start time for that one will be 7 PM. If you’re unable to make the five hour trip for that one, all the action will be available on Hockey TV. The Cats will be back in action at home exactly a week later on Friday, January 17th as they play host to the top-ranked team in the CJHL, the Brooks Bandits. Puck drop for that one will be 7:30 at the Centennial Civic Centre. As always, if you can’t make it down to the rink, Shane Tomayer and myself will have the call for you on Hockey TV, and on the MixLR app!
That game wouldn’t have happened in September. That game likely wouldn’t have happened in October. But in the Bobcats last home game of the month of November, it happened. “It” being a 3-2 OT victory after a being down 2-0 early in the hockey game. The Cats could have just folded their tent and went home, but they managed to dig deep and pull out the 2 points.
Just 0:50 into the game it was the Storm’s Jackson Wozniak getting a hold of a rebound and riffling it past Cats goaltender Garrett Larsen, and quickly it was 1-0. Then, just as the Cats had killed off their first penalty of the game, William Schimek made it 2-0 Storm at 8:02 with a shot from the point that Larsen didn’t see. 2-0 and not even 10 minutes in, just a night after a real solid effort where nothing went right, those are the ingredients to say “oh woe is me” and drag your feet the rest of the night. “You go down by 2, but there is a ton of hockey left. And for this leadership group to rally the troops on the bench and to understand that with composure they can crawl their way back into it” said Bobcats head coach Nigel Dube after the game.
The Cats began that crawl at the 11:15 mark of the 1st as on the power play Chance Adrian showed good vision finding Brendan Morrow in the high slot. He was denied, but Ty Mosimann was there to put home the rebound and allow the teddy bears to begin covering the ice. Storm took that 2-1 lead into the room, but the momentum was in the Bobcats favour.
And it carried over to the 2nd frame as at 8:46, once again on the power play and after some very good puck movement throughout, the puck would end up on the stick of Mosimann who this time found Mack Stewart in the slot for the redirection and the game was tied at 2 and would go to the intermission with that same score.
As the 3rd moved on, the Cats began to really take over the hockey game. Twice late in the period, Brendan Morrow made great plays attacking the net and forcing the Storm to haul him down resulting in power plays. If not for the play of Kaeden Lane late in the game, the Storm would not have left the Civic Centre with a point. He held the fort for them however, and we would go to OT, still 2 apiece.
The Cats simply weren’t going to be denied on Saturday as by the time overtime hit, they had imposed their will on the Storm and taken control of the game. After controlling the play and a few good chances, Mosimann gained the zone and then found Adrian the trailer in the high slot and he ripped a wrist shot past Lane to give the Cats the 3-2 victory. Without a doubt this was a character building win for a club that is starting to really grow the past few weeks.
Mosimann and Adrian were the offensive stars for the Cats, but it was a big night for the Cats defensive star of the game which was Garrett Larsen. The native of Waukesha, Wisconsin got his first win in the AJHL and was full value for it with 29 stops. “A big win for him to get his first junior hockey win and the quality of our tandem is a big part of this team” Dube said. Things may not have started right for him, but like his teammates Larsen stuck with it and throughout the game you could see his confidence growing.
Opportunity now knocks for the Cats. Currently 8 points back of the Fort McMurray Oil Barons in the standings, but they own a game in hand, and they travel to the Casman Centre for a back to back Friday and Saturday. There isn’t just 4 points to be had, it’s a possible 4 points to be gained and all while maintaining that game in hand. Taylor Pope will have the call of both those games on Hockey TV, and you’ll be stuck with me for the next Bobcats home game with Shane Tomayer away on business, I’ll have the call on the December 4th game at home vs the Spruce Grove Saints. So perhaps even more reason to make it down to the rink, but if you cannot then check out my first ever play by play call on Hockey TV, or the MixLR app.
After a 10 day layoff, the Bobcats were finally back in action Friday night at the Centennial Civic Centre for the first of two this weekend against the Grand Prairie Storm. The Cats were looking to continue their strong play on home ice of late as they’d taken 5 of a possible 8 points in their last four at home, and at least a 2 goal lead in each of those four games. Unfortunately though, last night’s very strong effort went unrewarded as the Storm took it 4-1.
It was a strong start for the Cats as Alex Danis opened the scoring for his first in the AJHL with a beautiful snipe off a 2 on 1 break. The snipe was great, the celebration was better as I’m sure it was mix of excitement and relief for Danis who has been coming on strong of late and just been a little snake bit. “All week in practice he said this weekend’s his weekend for it, and I think he went through about 3 celebration’s and pulled the monkey off his back” head coach Nigel Dube said after the game. “The kid is dedicated and works hard so it’s good to see.” The Storm tied it just 3:44 later as Jackson Savoie made a great pass to send Carter Myrol in and even though he failed to literally light the lamp, he did get the puck past Cats starter Josh Dias.
In the 2nd the Cats just couldn’t catch a break. Devin Sutton would put the Strom up 2-1 at the 3:58 mark as he tipped in a Brody Dale point shot, and then after about 3 different players fanned on a puck on its way to the slot, Lukas Jirousek was the one who finally found it and he made no mistake firing it past Dias to make it 3-1 Storm and it remained that way through 2 periods of play.
The Cats never said die all night. Would have been real easy to sulk after a 2nd period where they outshot the Storm 15-10, yet gave up the only 2 of the period, but they kept coming. A few adjustments made in the intermission resulted in cleaner zone exits and more speed through the neutral zone, but despite the effort they just couldn’t cash. Brody Dale would officially ice it with an empty netter right before the final buzzer to make it a 4-1 final in favour of the Storm. Final shots on goal were also in favour of the Storm 36-31.
After a solid effort by the Cats that went unrewarded, understandably coach Dube was a bit disheartened about how things went. “After 10 days off, there was a little bit of hot potato with the puck early on, but we held on. And then in the 2nd period we controlled the better parts of the play and outshoot them 15-10, but a puck goes in off one of our shin pads, and one off the back boards and we over skate a puck and they bury on it, and now we’re chasing the game. But there was no quit in our game. Until they got the empty netter with 4 seconds left there was no quit in our game. There were definitely some positives to take out of the game.”
Cats get a chance at redemption tonight as they’ll have a rematch with the Storm again at the Civic Centre. 7:30 puck drop, and don’t forget that it’s Teddy Bear toss night! So make sure you make it down to the Civic Centre and after the Bobcats first goal we want to see that ice covered in teddy bears! However, if you hate fun, or simply can’t make it down, as always Shane Tomayer and myself will have the action HOPEFULLY on Hockey TV (been a lot of technical issues getting the games on their lately), or on the MixLR app.
Saturday afternoon, Oilers alumni will take on Flames alumni as the Boundary Battle of Alberta will take place and the Lloydminster Centennial Civic Centre. The 3 PM game is sold out and has been for months now. However, the noon game was added and there are in fact still tickets available for it. Just go to http://lrhf.ca/bboa or go to Boundary Ford to pick yours up in person. Proceeds for this game are going to the mental health initiative Project Sunrise. For me, that’s the big seller. I’m a guy who has fought with ADHD, anxiety, and depression. I hit the trifecta some might say! But it’s nothing to make light of and I know what I’ve gone through and don’t wish it on anyone. It’s constantly on my mind. I never want to make people feel the way that I do when I’m at my lowest. So that is near and dear to me. But for a lot of people, they want to know what exactly they’re going to spend $25.00 a ticket on. Well, thankfully I’m here for you! Allow me to lay out exactly who will be taking the ice this Saturday in Lloydminster.
The only man in the game who didn’t play for either team, however, Brown likely sees himself as an Oiler these days as an in-game analyst on 630 CHED broadcasts. Brown had his breakout season in 88-89 as he put up an eye-popping 49 goals and 115 points in just 68 games.
The local boy doesn’t get the recognition he perhaps should for etching out the career he did. The 1st overall pick of the 1992 supplemental draft went onto play 659 games in the NHL, 113 of them with the Oilers. Perhaps the highlight of his career was this massive OT goal playing for the Leafs against Wade Redden’s Sens at the height of the battle of Ontario.
Debrusk came to the Oilers in the fall of 1991 in one of the most famous deals in team history which saw Mark Messier shipped to the New York Rangers. One of the most feared players in the mid-late 90’s, DeBrusk played 401 NHL games in his career, 228 of them with the Oilers. He remains a fan favourite today doing a terrific job as the colour analyst for the team’s TV broadcasts on Sportsnet West.
The top pick of the 2nd round in the 2002 NHL draft, the man known to Oilers fans as JDD first came on the scene early in the 08-09 season as he put on a show in back to back starts against the Devils and Rangers stopping 77 of 80 shots against in those two games. JDD also got 48 starts during the 09-10 campaign.
A 1st round pick of the Dallas Stars in the 2004 NHL draft, Fistric was dealt to his hometown Oilers right before the start of the lockout shortened 2013 season. Fistric got into 25 games with the Oilers that season, 325 in his NHL career.
Cold Lake’s own was the 6th overall pick in the 1974 NHL draft by the Minnesota North Stars. Hicks played in 561 games during his NHL career, 186 of them with the Oilers. In fact, Hicks best statistical season came with the Oilers in their first season in the NHL as Hicks had 9 goals and 40 points in 78 games.
Big Georges remains one of the most popular Oilers not named Gretzky, Messier or McDavid. Perhaps the top enforcer in the NHL during his time with the club, Laraque was the 31st pick in the 1995 draft and as it turned out he was far and away the top player of that draft for the Oilers. 695 NHL games in his career, 490 of them with the Oilers.
When Moreau was named the captain of the team prior to the 07-08 season, I don’t recall any debate about it. It was as if the fan base just collectively said “he better be”. Moreau was a warrior for the organization. The 14th overall pick of the 1994 draft, Moreau came to the Oilers the morning of March 20th, 1999 in a blockbuster deal that saw Boris Mironov go to Chicago. 928 games in the NHL, 653 of them with the Oilers. As I mentioned, he was named captain of the team prior to the 07-08 season, which ironically may have been the most difficult stretch of his career. Just seven games into the 06-07 season, Moreau needed to have reconstructive surgery on his shoulder. Then in the 07-08 pre-season, he fractured his tibia blocking a shot, which forced him to miss the first 48 games of that season. He then returned for 25 games, until yet another set back as he broke his leg and was done for the season again. Some might hang up their skates after such an awful stretch. Moreau however played nearly a full season in 08-09 for the Oilers and in doing so received the King Clancy Award for best exemplifying leadership qualities on and off the ice and by also making significant humanitarian contributions to the Oilers Community Foundation.
If you’re an Oilers fan, then without a doubt your fondest memories of the club in the last 25 seasons came in the spring of 2006. That entire season was special as it finally felt as though the Oilers could legitimately compete with the rest of the league thanks to the salary cap. But after a bit of a disappointing regular season that saw the club really struggle to get in the playoffs, they went on an amazing run. And right at the forefront of that run was Fernando Pisani with his unbelievable 14 goal performance. The Edmonton kid was an 8th round pick of the club in the 1996 draft and clawed his way up the ranks before finally getting his shot during the 02-03 season and once he got his spot he never gave it up. He played 462 NHL games, 402 of them with the Oilers.
I didn’t realize before writing this that there is a big backstory to Hunter already posted here which is awesome so I don’t feel the need to make something up!
#PackYourShit and get out to see this guy on Saturday (see what I did there?!)…Commodore only played 18 regular season games in his career with the Flames, but it was where he broke through as a full-time NHL player, and he actually played more playoff games with the Flames (20) than regular season as he was a key contributor for the Flames during their amazing playoff run in 2004. Following the 2005 lockout, Commodore would capture a Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes. He ended up playing 484 NHL games and has stated on numerous occasions how Mike Babcock was his all-time favourite coach to play for…well…maybe that’s incorrect…
If you don’t know this man’s incredible story by now, I’m not sure what you’re doing. In 2009 he released his best selling autobiography Playing with Fire which is an absolute must read if you haven’t already. Fleury was a rookie when he won the Cup with the Flames in 1989. Six times he led the Flames in scoring. He currently sits 5th for the Flames all-time in games played (791), 2nd in goals (364), 3rd in assists (466), and 2nd in points (830). He represented Canada in the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, the 1998 Olympics, and the 2002 Olympics where he helped Canada win their first gold medal in 50 years. Fleury played in 1,084 games in his entire career, and finished over a PPG (1,088 points). The numbers are there to someday be enshrined in the hockey Hall of Fame. And of course we can’t be talking about the battle of Alberta without mentioning that he scored one of the most famous goals in the history of the rivalry.
Another key member of the 1989 Stanley Cup champion Flames team. Macoun was one of the Flames top shutdown defencemen on a team that was one of the best in the league during the mid to late 1980’s. Macoun played 586 of his incredible 1,128 career games with the Flames. On January 1st, 1992 Macoun was involved in the biggest trade in NHL history, more famously known as the Doug Gilmour deal, and would go on to play a big role in the Maple Leafs revival as a franchise in the mid 90’s, before moving onto Detroit at the 1998 trade deadline where he would capture a 2nd Stanley Cup championship.
The 3rd of the Flames alumni to play on the Flames 1989 Cup winning team. The Calgary born Murzyn was initially the 5th overall pick by the Hartford Whalers in the 1985 NHL draft. Murzyn was dealt to the Flames midway through the 87-88 season, Murzyn appeared in 21 of the Flames 22 playoff games during their run in 1989. He would be dealt to Vancouver in March of 1991 and was a big part of the Canucks success in the early to mid 90’s as they would go onto win back to back Smythe division titles, followed by a trip to game seven of the Stanley Cup final in 1994 (though Murzyn had his run cut short due to injury in those playoffs). He wrapped up his career in 1999, finishing with 838 career games.
The former Camrose Kodiak and Calgary native came up with the Vancouver Canucks during the 07-08 season and was a key contributor for the Canucks on their 10-11 squad which went to game seven of the Stanley Cup final. After a season in Toronto, Raymond would sign with the home town Flames for the 14-15 season, a team which was expected to be near the bottom of the league. Not only were they not near the bottom, they shocked everyone in the hockey world as they snuck into the playoffs and knocked off his former team the Canucks in the 1st round. The speedy Raymond would finish his career with 546 games played.
Selected by the Leafs with the 57th pick of the 2002 NHL draft, he was dealt to the Flames during the 09-10 season. Like Raymond, Stajan was a key member of that amazing 14-15 Flames squad, and scored one of the most important goals of their run in game six vs the Canucks. The game was tied with under five minutes to play and it was Stajan who stepped up with game-winner as the Flames won their first playoff series since the 03-04 playoffs. Stajan would go onto play 1,003 NHL games in his career, 558 of them with the Flames.
Harvey the Hound
Much like Hunter, I can’t do Harvey the Hound justice quite like the write up that can be found here, although we can’t talk BOA and Harvey the Hound without re-living the time Mac T got his tongue.
These are two great rosters which have been assembled. It is pretty rare to see this kind of talent take the ice in Lloydminster. More importantly, the money that will be raised for such a tremendous cause. It is an absolute win-win. Again, go to http://lrhf.ca/bboa or to Boundary Ford to pick yours up in person.
The Lloydminster Bobcats knew they faced an extremely difficult task opening the season with a home and home against the defending regular season AJHL North division champion Sherwood Park Crusaders, followed by a game against the defending post season AJHL North division champion Spruce Grove Saints. And while the battle level was there again for the Cats last night, the results were not as they fell at home to a very talented Saints team by a 6-1 score.
After a 1st period where not much happened and the game really lacked flow, things picked up in the 2nd as the Bobcats Cam Aucoin opened the scoring at the 2:32 mark, going top corner short side on Saints starting goaltender Max Duchesne. A bit of a controversial goal tied the game for the Saints as Stanley Cooley hit Nathan Edwards in stride, very close to being offside but nevertheless, the Michigan commit made no mistake as he went top shelf with a backhand up over Bobcats netminder Garrett Larsen to tie the game. Saints took the lead later on in the period on the power play as right off the face-off Stanley Cooley again the playmaker, this time spotting Cam Mitchell high in the slot for a perfect redirect, and the Saints went into the 2nd intermission holding a 2-1 advantage. The Saints managed to get the jump on the Cats just 0:24 seconds into the 3rd as again it was Mitchell as the Nebraska-Omaha commit was able to walk into the Cats zone and let go a bullet top corner on Larsen for his 4th on the season. Then just 0:55 seconds after that it was WHL alum Ryan Peckford scoring his 3rd goal in as many games to make it 4-1. Jordan Biro would get in on the action at the 6:55 mark with an excellent tip off a shot that it looked as though Jaxsen Wyatt may have fanned on extending the Saints lead to 5-1. Finally, Brett Trentham would pour a little more salt in the wound for the Cats with a late power play goal to close out the scoring. Final shots on goal in the game were 40-13 in favour of the Saints.
The outcome looked the same as Saturday night, but I felt the Bobcats actually played a much stronger game in a lot of area’s. For large stretches of the game they were very solid on the defensive side of the puck, Garrett Larsen made some really big stops and was both tracking the puck and staying square to the shooters all evening, I felt Ryley Hogan bounced back with a good assertive game tonight for the Cats as well. It is a very young team, they haven’t played much hockey together as of yet, and their first three games of the season are against what very easily could be the two best teams in the league this season. A very difficult task for any team in the league.
I asked Cats head coach Nigel Dube for his thoughts after the game. “I thought for us, after the media timeout in the first period that we came out and pushed back. And we probably had a 25 minute slot in there where we did good things, leaned on their D-men and got things going that way. At times when we got away from the game plan and put pucks into the walls and off the area’s that we were targeting on the ice, they’re a team with speed, had momentum coming North on us and we gave them opportunities. But we just need to regroup and go get them on Friday”. Dube would like to see more discipline shown from his team next game. “We took hooking, slashing, holding and high sticking. Four penalties, two in the offensive zone, sending us to the penalty kill when we really don’t need to. The penalty ratio was really off-set, and some of those we were deserving of tonight. It’s something to work on.” As the Cats move onto Grand Prairie for a set this weekend, Dube is looking forward to the challenge. “You look at our first three, Sherwood Park, Sherwood Park, and Spruce Grove, now we’re playing hockey. We come to the rink tomorrow, we’ll touch on a few things in video, and get on the bus to go to GP. They’re a young team as well. It’s their home opener so we have to be prepared for that. But for us, we need to start shooting pucks and get back to our 10 shots a period minimum. No matter where they’re coming from, we need to find a way to start being shooters.”
Puck drop in Grand Prairie both tomorrow and Saturday night is set for 7:30 PM, and you can catch all the action on Hockey TV. Cats next home game will be Friday, October 4th as they take on Hayden Clayton and the Whitecourt Wolverines. Puck drop for that game will be 7:30, and if you can’t make it down to the Civic Centre then you can check out Shane Tomayer and myself as we’ll have the call on Hockey TV, and on MixLR.
On any given day, you can start off with the best intentions, work as hard as you can, set out to do everything the correct way, yet everything still conspires against you. We’ve all had days like that. Last night, that happened to the Lloydminster Bobcats. After a very promising showing in Sherwood Park Friday night, the Bobcats simply could never get their game on track in the return bout Saturday night at the Centennial Civic Centre as a very talented Crusaders squad took it to them all night, defeating the Bobcats by a score of 6-0.
It was an uphill battle for the Cats right from the get-go as just 11 seconds into the game a costly turnover led to a Kaden Bryant goal. Then at the 12:16 mark Bryant put home his second of the game on a shot that Bobcats goaltender Cale Elder got a piece of, but not enough and it was 2-0 Crusaders after one. Bobcats head coach Nigel Dube turned to Garrett Larsen to start the 2nd frame, however it was more of the same as the Crusaders put the pressure on and at the 5:14 mark Jacob Franczak made a beautiful stretch pass to Jarred White who had cheated into the neutral zone and he made no mistake going top shelf on the backhand which put the Crusaders up 3-0 and it would remain that score after 40 minutes of play. The Bobcats entered the 3rd with a 35 second five on three power play, and despite not being able to capitalize on it, they were finally gaining a little momentum before Ty Mueller abruptly ended that as he fired a laser past Larsen to make it 4-0. That goal seemed to really suck the life out of the building, as that goal was followed by goals from Franczak and Bryce Bader. Three goals in 59 seconds from the Crusaders and it would remain that way as the Crusaders walked away with an impressive victory.
It felt from the broadcast booth that the Bobcats were badly gripping their sticks all night long. Nothing was coming easy for the club. Full credit to the Crusaders who have one of the best teams in the AJHL and will do what they did to the Bobcats to many teams in the league this season. But the game the team played Friday night in Sherwood Park was impressive. They weren’t intimidated by the Crusaders, they played loose, they showed they could take a punch and get right back up and keep fighting. Saturday night, the effort level was still there, but the execution was far different. They were two very different games.
After the game, Bobcats head coach Nigel Dube was taking the blame for the loss. “As a coaching staff we’re six games in including pre-season and that’s on us to find a way to get these guys ready. Tonight, we were off. And when you play a team like Sherwood Park who is picked to probably win the league, you can’t be off, and as a coaching staff that’s on us.” Dube went onto say “we had a little hiccup here in a couple area’s but we’ll be back to it tomorrow. We’ll find ways to continue to grow. 19 new bodies and I can’t say that forever, but out of the gate here we’re going to have to learn and as a coaching staff we have to learn and execute what it takes to get these guys prepared every day.” The schedule doesn’t lighten up at all either, as the defending North division champion Spruce Grove Saints are up next. “For us, now we got to find the on. We have a few days here, our practice on Monday and Tuesday will be structured a little bit different and we’ll look at it as game one on Tuesday and we’ll be good. For us we can’t have being on and then being off. Onus is on the coaching staff to sit down tonight, sit down tomorrow and execute a plan that’s going to help our guys and give them the resources to be better the next day. That’s on us.” It would have been VERY easy for Dube to point fingers after a disappointing home opener, but he showed great leadership with how he handled things.
The Saints roll into town Wednesday with a 2-0 record after sweeping their home and home this weekend against Drayton Valley, game time is 7:30. If you can’t make it to the Centennial Civic Centre, then Shane Tomayer and myself will have the call on Hockey TV and on MixLR.