Cats go on offensive in 3-game sweep
The Alpena Street Cats answered an offensive wake-up call and it came at the expense of the Berkley Bruins Jan. 17-19 at the Northern Lights Arena.
After an opening 10-4 win Friday, the Street Cats upped their goal scoring ante on Saturday, winning 15-2, and finally on Sunday they got a day of rest earning a 1-0 win by forfeit.
The three-game sweep earned six points and moved Alpena into third place in the Midwest Junior Hockey League with 32 points (16-13-0-0) in the battle for playoff spots which go to the top four teams.
Asked about the team's offensive explosion, Streetcats' assistant coach Lori Seguin said she felt the players responded to a week of practice where work ethic and having fun was emphasized.
"A lot of our offensive outbreak this weekend was our work ethic, confidence and believing in each other," said Seguin. "Our motto has been 'Work Hard, Play Hard.'
"Myself and other assistant coach Erick Petersen talked a lot to the boys about trusting one another and supporting each other."
The Street Cats are two points back from the second-place Soo Firehawks (17-10-0-0) and hold a one-point lead over the fourth-place Detroit Fighting Irish (14-8-0-3). Probably most importantly, Alpena now has a seven point lead over the Bloomington Jr. Blaze (12-14-1-0) who is in fifth place with 15 games to play in the regular season, while Alpena has 13 to play.
Pavel Bocharov, Edgar Kharlamov and Andrei Yanovich each scored a hat trick in Saturday's win as Alpena broke a 2-2 tie after the first period with five unanswered goals in the second period.
Yanovich also had four assists and finished with seven points and Savelii Skurikhin added five points (two goals, three assists). Yanovich also had seven points in Friday's game with another hat trick and four assists.
"We explained to the team if everyone understood their role and what their job was the team has a chance to be great together and have success," said Seguin. "We worked hard this week on our breakouts, forecheck, special teams and defensive zone coverage."
Sunday's game was forfeited by the Bruins due to lack of players. They have an abundance of injuries and lost a player Friday night after he was struck in the face with a puck. Then Saturday night two Bruins were given suspensions which left them with six or seven players for Sunday's game.
"It just wasn't a safe environment to play in for their players," said Seguin. "They requested the forfeit to the league and it was granted. I can't blame them. With all the injuries they have etc. it's just real difficult to play with that short of a bench."
Alpena is off for a weekend, but then travels to Berkley for a three-game series beginning Jan. 31.
"We did a lot of good things this past weekend, but still need to work on some things to continue to grow as a team for the chance at a good playoff run," Seguin added. "If we continue to work hard from here until playoffs, this team's potential has no limits."