Saturday, 09.24.2016 / 11:42 pm CT
In their first matchup against the Aston Rebels in franchise history, the Wildcats could not get their offense going and fell 3-0 to close out the 2016 Showcase.
The Cats could not repeat the first period scoring they had from Friday night’s game against Bismarck. Though they had two and a half power play opportunities in the first 20 minutes and showed promise, Aston’s goaltender Mareks Mitens stood tall. On Aston’s first man-advantage, Michael Underwood’s wrist shot was deflected by Drew Blackmun to give the Rebels a 1-0 lead.
After a flurry of chances in front of the Aston net, Ryan Burnett tried to kick the puck to his stick and sneak it past Mitens. He kicked it just a bit too far, missing his stick and rolling out to the slot. The Rebels were saved by the first period buzzer, as several Wildcats were ready to jump on the puck and put it home.
The middle period was permeated by failed Wildcats power plays and quick odd-man rushes by the Rebels. They had several counterattacks and overwhelmed Evan Moyse in the second frame. On a 2-on-1, Aaron Maguyon was given a cross-crease pass by Gianluca Esteves, and was able to jab the puck past Moyse to give Aston an insurance lead. Shortly thereafter, Brendan Cherwalk stormed up-ice on a Wildcats power play, scoring on the shorthanded breakaway and tripling Aston’s lead.
An attempt to rally from behind and tie the game fell short on Saturday morning. Luck was not on the Wildcats’ side, as their frustrations continued after hitting posts several times. The few quality chances they generated were turned aside by a sturdy goaltender in Mitens.
Ryan Orgel was controversially given a five-minute major for head contact with just over five minutes remaining in the game, essentially killing any chance at a Wildcats comeback.
Moyse backed the Cats to stopping 25 of 28 shots but was given his third regulation defeat, falling to 3-3-1 on the season. Mitens earned a 28-save shutout, improving to 2-1-0. The Wildcats will host the Odessa Jackalopes for the first time of the season on Saturday, October 1st at Kay Yeager Coliseum at 7:05 PM CT.