It was a sweet victory in the old barn.
The Calgary Cowboys came away with two big points Wednesday night with a 4-3 victory over the Regina Pats for their second straight win, and sixth in their last seven games.
“It wasn’t pretty but we grinded it out,” head coach Steve Hamilton said. “It wasn’t one of our Picassos but sometimes finger painting gets the job done.”
“I give credit to the guys for finding a way to battle through to get the win late in the game.”
Kaden Elder scored a pair of goals while Mark Kastelic and Riley Stotts scored the other markers, with the Stotts goal being the game-winner with just over three minutes left to play. Jack McNaughton reached 20 wins on the season with an impressive 33 save performance.
Regina saw all three goals come courtesy of Ty Kolle and Max Paddock ended the night with 34 stops.
In what was a back and forth affair, the Hitmen seemed to have scored the game-winner with five minutes left in the third when James Malm appeared to have put the home side up by one. After review of the play, it was ruled a no goal due to kicking the puck while in the crease.
No goal, no problem.
Cue Stotts to play the role of hero.
“I was in the high slot and Malm made a great play in finding me like he always does,” he said. “I was able to get away from my guy and backhand it into the top corner. It was awesome to get the win and I’m proud of the guys.
“It’s a lot of fun playing in this rink and having the fans get as loud as they have for these past two games.”
It was a bit of redemption for Stotts as earlier on in the period he was unable to capitalize on a breakaway but scored the big goal when it mattered most.
“I felt bad for Ronnie (Luke Coleman) that I didn’t score for him on that play after he did such a great job to get it to me. We didn’t let up and kept pushing until we were able to close it out.
“It was a great feeling.”
With the win, the Cowboys move into a tie for the first wildcard spot with Red Deer and sit three back of Medicine Hat for third and four back of Lethbridge for second in the Central Division.
It’ll be a tight race that goes down right down to the wire.
“How we play is huge and we can’t be worried on how other teams are playing,” Elder said. “We have to play our game and make sure we really bear down and focus on ourselves.
“We work hard day in and day out and it shows on the ice for us. It was a big opportunity for us to prove that tonight.”
And so as the Cowboys ride off into the sunset, the next game of the Corral Series presented by Adrenalin Source For Sports will see the club honour the Wranglers for the final game in the Corral.
There will also be an extra added motivation going up against the top team in the WHL, the Prince Albert Raiders.
“We need to show up ready to go,” Hamilton said. “It’ll be special night with a good crowd and I know P.A. is excited for it with all the history there.
“It’ll be a big test but we need to rise up.”