Renegades of Puck 4, Bobcats 3

Renegades of Puck and Bobcats with another close duel with the Renegades staving off a late Bobcats push to take the win.

FALL 2023 - WEEK 4RENEGADES OF PUCKBOBCATS

Aaron Froats

9/17/20233 min read

The Renegades of Puck and the Bobcats are no strangers to close games, particularly against each other. In the two meetings last season, the teams split the games, each winning by a margin of a goal. This game was expected to be a close one as well. The Bobcats were suiting up Omar Soliman in net, which meant it was the third time already this season that Soliman has faced off against goaltender Aaron Froats. The two netminders have each come away with a victory thus far, with Soliman taking the win in Week 2 as the goalie for the Classics in a 5-2 contest, and Froats also pocketing a 5-2 victory, with his coming last week when the Renegades knocked off the Woollies.

The game was sure to be high-paced and it didn’t take very long to get started. The puck was moving in and out of each zone, with a lot of stretch passes leading to bottled up play in the defensive zone. As the lines cycled through, the third line of the away team took the ice, this time centered by Chris Brady, back after missing last week. The tight play continued as the puck funneled into the Renegades end. League-leading goal scorer, Zach Turner, circled around the net to Froats’s left and fed the puck towards the point. The pass was almost picked off, but the loose puck was gathered by the home team. Forward Hunter Candari fired a puck through the bodies, sniping the far corner over Froats’s left shoulder, tallying the first marker of the game. The away squad would not be down for long as they strung together two quick goals within 21 seconds of each other. The first was a broken clearing attempt by the Bobcats left the puck sitting above the faceoff circle to Soliman’s glove side. Tom Buysee stepped up and wristed the puck on net, finding daylight through the slew of bodies surrounding the crease. The Renegades came storming in on the ensuing faceoff looking for more. The go-ahead marker would be notched on a nifty slip move by defenseman Ben Brinton, subbing in for Brandon Adams who was out with a foot injury. After receiving the puck dropped back to the point, Brinton strafed to his right and took a couple strides towards the high slot, rifling a shot up under the bar to tie the game.

Because the games between these two teams are always close and competitive, the physical nature started to elevate early on. While most of the bumping was within the guidelines of the rules and spirit of the game, the Renegades took it a little far according to referee Colby Jordan. The first call was a roughing on Bryce Levet with about four minutes left in the frame. The Renegades played disciplined defense and were able to keep possession for close to 45 seconds of the man advantage, killing off the penalty. Unfortunately, only 45 seconds later, TJ Nielson would get whistled for roughing as well. The Bobcats would put some pressure on, but the period would end 30 seconds into the powerplay. The second period would begin with the Bobcats completing the rest of the minor to Nielson with the team unable to capitalize. The Renegades would keep the pressure on, adding another tally to extend their lead to three. Brad Bartlett, subbing for Dustin Poole on the blue line, stopping a clearing attempt and moved back down the side boards before firing at the net, finding the five-hole for the red light. It looks like the game was well within their control. The Bobcats would, however, pull within one when Turner attempted to score on a wraparound in the last minute of the stanza. Froats would make the initial stop in the butterfly, but was unable to cover. Turner wrestled through the tie-up from Charlie Saunier to grab his rebound and tuck home the goal for his seventh of the season.

The escalation of the physical play came to a head about five minutes into the third. Zack McCann and John Cogger got tangled up at the center red line and tempers began to flare. Jordan kept the game under control by sending both to the bin with matching minors. With the two in the box, the Bobcats would strike again to bring the score even with just over five minutes left to play. After stopping an initial shot by Turner, Froats was unable to corral the rebound and Stephen Galler was there to tap it in, his second goal of the season. The breath of life for the Cats would be short-lived as Jon Bellucci would put the nail in the coffin at the 7:36 mark into the final frame to bring his team to 3-1 on the season.

The Renegades of Puck are set up to face the Puck Buddies on Thursday at 9:30, one of the two teams Froats has yet to notch a win against – his former team, the Classics, being the other. Soliman and the Woollies look to get back on track as the visiting team the game prior against the Bobcats.