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Eat, sleep, lamp – Bearcats split weekend in YEG

by John Wilmshurst | special to the Fitzhugh

Stevie Wonder wrote back in 1974 “superstitious writings on the wall”. He foretold the future.

Superstitions are strange habits, and athletes of all stripes are particularly prone believing their undefined power. Lucky socks, game-day routines, lines not stepped on and words not uttered; superstitions are common in the sports world. Break out the lucky pennies, avoid ladders and touch wood.

Last weekend, the Jasper Bantam Bearcats kicked off their regular season with games in Sherwood Park and Twin Brooks.

Saturday against the Sherwood Park Knights was a typical Bearcats affair. Two periods of shaking off road legs and one period with catching up to do. Although the first period was pretty back and forth, Jasper’s snipers could not find their range. But seven minutes in the Knights took advantage of a broken Bearcat breakout to take a one nothing lead. This pattern repeated itself in the second, as Jasper failed to capitalize on opportunities while Sherwood Park went up by two when a Jasper defender tripped over a black cat backing into his zone and the Knights walked in on a two-on-one. Two nothing after two periods.

In the third, Jasper’s scorers came to life. Blue-liner Jacob Bartziokas scored the first ever regular-season goal for the Bearcats in the Edmonton league. It was a blast from the point that deflected into the back of the Knights’ net. Sherwood Park got that one back a long 15 minutes later to go up 3-1 only to have Baden Koss pull Jasper back to within one on an end-to-end rush. With time winding down it the game, Coaches John Polard and Jim Koss pulled the goalie to try to get the tying goal before the final buzzer. Instead, the Knights broke out the horseshoes and buried a long bomb to regain a two-goal lead that would end the game at 4-2. Bad luck.

On Sunday, the Bearcats commuted to the south of the city to take on the KC Sabres. Chalk it up to a pre-game pep talk or Camas D’Antonio’s lucky chicken foot (don’t ask), but the Bearcats had a fast start. Right from the opening faceoff the Bearcats set the tone. It was up to Lucas Oeggerli, converting a pass from Sebastian Golla, to get Jasper on the board. One-nothing Jasper for a both a rare first period goal and rarer early lead. Before the period was out, Jasper’s lucky #13, Owen Kearnan, gave the Bearcats a 2-0 lead, burying a rebound from a Koss blast.

Early in the middle frame, lucky #13 got his second of the game on a wrap around. Then the defenders at both ends of the ice hijacked the game. Aidan Deagle and Dana Angebrandt (who’s name means “lucky charm” in German) were unbeatable on the back line while Kelan Polard kept things clean for the Bearcats between the pipes. Even the Sabres’ goaltender was standing on his head, stoning Jasper forward Dylan Dekker on a breakaway that is usually a ‘gimme for this sniper. But with the period coming to a close, Koss whipped a wrister over that same netminder’s blocker for Jasper’s fourth goal and then Golla whistled one low stick side to give the Bearcats a five-goal lead into the second intermission.

With the Sabres’ fans sporting their rally caps in the stands, the Bearcats kept the voodoo coming. Oeggerli scored his second of the game and lucky #13 Kearnan earned a hat trick, tipping in a point shot from d-man Josh Howes. Lucky 7-0 Jasper. Kearnan buried his fourth and a stake in the Sabres’ hearts short-handed and Deagle added to the Sabres’ pain with a slapper from the point that found the back of the net. It was 9-0 Jasper halfway through the third. At any point in the game, and especially with time winding down, the S-word cannot be uttered. However, a Bearcat supporter (who will not be named) broke this golden rule and seconds later Polard’s shutout was spoiled. But the game was long salted away, and Jasper walked away with a 9-1 victory and their first points in this young season.

The Bearcats are back on the road this weekend, and with any luck, you can read about it here.

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