The Wildcats top line of Cobe Delaney, Owen Slugowski, and Aiden Arnold combined for 11 points leading the cats to their first-ever win, 5-2 over the Prince Albert Mintos on Nov. 22.
“Slugs, Dels, and Arnie, they’ve been battling hard the last couple of games and it’s good to finally see them getting rewarded,” head coach Ryan McDonald said. “Whenever you can get 48 shots on net, it’s obviously a huge team effort there.”
“I think we’ve played well together, we’ve been bonding well over the last week in practice,” Slugowski said. “Getting in an extra practice this week really helped.”
Warman came out of the gate hot, firing early and often. However, a Dustin Renas hooking penalty halfway through the opening period put the Mintos on their first powerplay of the afternoon. It took P.A. just eight seconds into the man advantage to capitalize.
Off of the offensive zone faceoff win, the puck was swung low to the left corner where Curron Wintonyk-Pilot then flung the puck back through the slot to Tanner Howe, who one-timed his shot over the glove of Alex Worthington for a 1-0 lead.
It was a lead the visitors held after 20 minutes, despite being outshot 15-6.
“For a lot of teams that’s something that can be deflating,” McDonald said. “But, we’ve talked about not getting down when adversity comes our way, lets just focus on the next shift.”
The Wildcats continued the pressure to open the second potting a pair of goals just over five minutes into the frame.
The first came off of a hard Slugowski forecheck, which resulted in a loose puck that was picked up by Dagan Carlson, he centred to Delaney who received a fortunate bounce; off of the skate and in to tie the game.
The second was a little prettier, as Slugowski again caused disruption behind the net, stole the puck, centred to Delaney who snapped a nifty backhand past to Arnold on the back post who went shelf to give the Cats the lead.
However, later in the second more penalty trouble plagued Warman.
With Renas again in the box, this time for tripping, Howe again capitalized while on the powerplay knotting the game up at 2-2.
The tie lasted only 28 seconds.
Slugowski fired a bouncing puck on net from the point that Delaney just got a piece of, tipping it past Ty Shumanski for a 3-2 lead.
In the third Delaney notched his hattrick on a back-door, two-on-one feed from Arnold.
“I think it was a great first hattrick in the league,” Delaney said. “I’m finally getting the monkey off of my back, so, it felt pretty good.”
The Slugowski iced the contest with a slick solo effort where he ripped the puck upstairs from the slot, securing a 5-2 win for the Wildcats.
“Being as close as we were in the past (few) games, it definitely puts a lot of weight on our shoulders to step up and produce,” captain Parker Layton said. “(But), we showed this game that we can play in this league, and we’re here for a reason.”
“It’s not easy to come to the rink when you’re 0-5,” McDonald said. “I give these guys a lot of credit, to come to the rink and battle every day, but, I tell you what, the pressures off (now).”