17 Plus 16 Equals 13

BISMARCK, ND – The 2011-12 Bismarck Bobcats broke a nine year old club record, setting the new standard in Bobcat Hockey history by winning their 13th straight game at home, outlasting the Aberdeen Wings 5-3 Friday at the VFW Sports Center.

The win not only breaks the mark originally set in 2002 by a Bobcat squad led by Garrett Roth—the franchise’s all-time leading scorer, now assistant coach with Aberdeen—but also pushes the Cats’ record to 8-0-0 against their fiercest rival and runs their current win streak to eight games, a season high.

An offensive explosion keyed the Bobcats’ first period as leading scorer Castan Sommer got the divisional frontrunners on the board first as the Shrewsbury, Mass., native stung home a Tyler Richter rebound for his 21st goal of the year and a 1-0 Bobcat lead 3:46 into the game.

Richter doubled the lead Sommer found him on a back-door rush off a Wings turnover and Richter finished with a one-timer past Aberdeen goalie Marcus Zelzer to make it 2-0 with 7:55 left in the opening frame.

“Our line (of Sommer, Richter and Patrick Moore) has been clicking like crazy,” professed Richter, who originally joined forces with the wingers out of necessity when Frank DeAugustine went down last month with a concussion, “we just find each other out there all the time. Castan and I made eye contact all the way and he hit me with a beauty pass.”

Richter followed up his 19th of the year with his 20th just 2:12 later, taking another feed from Sommer and blasting it through Zelzer’s five hole for a 3-0 Bobcat edge.

Aberdeen interrupted the Cats’ outburst 1:11 after Richter’s second of the night when a puck deflected off the skate of Justin Parizek and in past Bobcat goalie Tommy Burke, cutting the lead to 3-1.

The Bobcats’ bench argued the puck was kicked in, but head official Andrew Howard ruled the play a goal.

Dan Zawacki put a cap on the big first a mere 73 seconds after Parizek’s tally when Bryce Anderson found him wide open on the power play for a low blast that beat Zelzer glove side for a 4-1 lead heading into the first intermission.

“Bryce and [John] Furgele do a great job getting things started on the point,” explained Zawacki, whose 15 goals trail only Sommer and Richter on the Bobcats, “they switch well and confuse the forwards on the other teams’ ‘PK.’ John gave Bryce a good pass as they switched and the forwards scrambled and it was all Bryce needed to hit me on the back door.”

Burke and Zelzer locked down in the second period, combining for 24 saves to hold the game at 4-1 after 40 minutes.

Much to the dismay of the sellout crowd at the VFW Sports Center, the Wings’ talented offense got on track in the third when Oliver Widding-Persson fired a shot on the power play that deflected off a shot-block attempt by the Bobcats and over Burke’s glove to chop the lead to 4-2 at the 9:42 mark of the third.

Bobcat killer Steve Obarzanek pulled the Wings within one with 6:09 to go in regulation, scoring unassisted on the rush for a 4-3 game. Obarzanek’s exuberant celebration drew the ire of the Bobcat bench and stalled the game for over a minute as he broke the strap on Zelzer’s right leg pad when the two danced in front of the Aberdeen bench.

Fueled on by a rocking crowd, the Bobcats killed a late penalty on Donald Olivieri and got some last-second insurance from Zawacki, who collected an Adam Knochenmus shot block and lofted the puck from his own blue line into the empty Aberdeen net with 96 seconds remaining to ice the game at 5-3.

“When he shot it, ‘Z’ looked over at me on the bench and said ‘I got this,’” recalled Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie. “But in all seriousness, we are really proud of setting a new record in front of the best fans in the NAHL. Our crowd came through big-time tonight, and we can’t thank everyone who comes out every week and supports us in person enough.”

Burke turned aside 34 Aberdeen efforts to pull into a tie atop the NAHL goalie standings with his 21st win of 2011-12.

Zelzer, making his first start against the Bobcats of the year, made 39 stops but could not avoid slipping to 7-4-0 on the year.

Having swept a five-game home stand, the Bobcats now embark on a four-game road swing, starting Saturday as they head east across I-94 for a 7:30 PM showdown against the red-hot Alexandria Blizzard, who enter Saturday’s contest with a league-best nine-game win streak in tow after clobbering Minot 6-2 Friday.

Saturday’s battle of the top two teams in the Central will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270, KLXX-AM, and worldwide on the official internet television partner of the NAHL, FASTHockey, at http://nahl.fasthockey.com. Pregame coverage gets under way at 7:00. Fans can watch the game—and all away contests—live at Reza’s Pitch at Third and Front in Bismarck, the official away game home of Bobcat Hockey.

Season tickets are still available for the second half of the 2011-12 season—and going fast! Call the Bobcat Hockey office at (701) 222-3300 or email gobobcathockey@aol.com for more information on reserving a pro-rated package for the rest of the season!