Seawolves Skate By Bobcats in Inaugural Season Opener

by Charles Ryan

The Blue Ridge Bobcats dropped their inaugural game to start off the 2023-2024 season against the Mississippi SeaWolves on October 20th, 5-3.

The Seawolves struck first at 13:47 during the first period where Philip Wong found the back of the net with a one-timer off the top of the left faceoff circle. Just brushing past a screened Connor Green over his right shoulder for the 1-0 lead. Assists on the play were awarded to Jackson Bond and Tyson Lambert.

Mississippi was quick to the punch during the second period with a tap-in shot from Yannis Liarakos from a deep shot off the stick of Hugo Koch to get the insurance goal to bring them up 2-0.

But the goals didn’t stop there for Joe Pace and the SeaWolves as they found the back of the net with a fast-break attempt through neutral ice as Chuck Castillo with an assist from Yianni Liarakos pushed the gap to three just seven minutes later at 8:59.

Not to be outdone though Hugo Koch finally found the back of the net four minutes later off the stick of Yianni Liarakos. Bringing Mississippi ahead by a large margin of 4-0 at 15:08.

While fans thought hope might be lost the Bobcats went to work finding their extra spark at 5:26 as Brice French awakened the bench taking the puck coast-to-coast to give the Bobcats the first point of the team's career in the third period.

The goal seemed to help as just two minutes later Captain Kyle Stevens caught goalie Joseph Sheppard off guard with the redirect from Jakub Volf and Brice French off the left side of the ice to bring Blue Ridge within two.

The Bobcats kept closing the gap throughout the third period as forward Cody Oakes pushed past the five-hole to bring the score within one off a lateral from Jakub Volf at 15:32 to bring the score to 4-3.

Just as the Bobcats started to build up the comeback in the third period they pulled Green and brought on Stevens as an extra skater. Down in the slot, a bobbled reception sent the puck back into the hands of Hugo Koch who found a transition player in the neutral zone in Yianni Liarakos and a speedy forward in Jake Raleigh. Although Stevens made it in time the dive was just barely miss timed and the SeaWolves took the game 5-3.

Three Stars of the night:

Yianni Liarakos

Hugo Koch

Brice French

The Blue Ridge Bobcats will take on the Mississippi SeaWolves once again tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. for the conclusion of the two-game series. You can get tickets at Tickets cost between $10 and $15.