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Army of Two

Salsberry, Giesler Provide Offense as Bobcats Win in OT
 
BISMARCK, ND – Despite letting a two-goal lead slip away in the second period, the Bismarck Bobcats got two goals each from Evan Giesler and Tanner Salsberry to rally past the Minnesota Wilderness for a 4-3 overtime win Saturday at the VFW Sports Center, halting Minnesota’s league-high six-game win streak.
 
With a 2-0 advantage after one, the home side saw the Wilderness get back in the game as former Bobcat Alex Toscano provided back-to-back primary assists on goals by Dan Litchke and Robb Stautz in a span of 4:59 that tied the game and silenced the crowd of 1,265.
 
Minnesota would then take the lead at 3-2 on their fifth power play of the night as Niklas Lehtimaki bashed a one-timer from the mid-slot that beat Bobcat goalie Alex Bitsakis inside the right post with 7:16 left in the second.
 
Momentum would swing back the Bobcats’ way 10:44 into the third on Salsberry’s third of the year when the second-year defender launched a 55-footer that glanced off the right post and in past Wilderness netminder Ryan Anderson to knot the game at three.
 
Though Minnesota pressed for a go-ahead goal on the next shift with nearly a minute of sustained pressure, the Bobcat defense blocked all four shot attempts to hold the fort.
 
“We were disappointed in not being able to keep the pressure up after the tying goal,” explained Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, “but you could feel a big lift on the bench for guys blocking shots and getting us out of that bind.”
 
The Wilderness only managed one shot on Bitsakis after the equalizer and the game would move to overtime.
 
After Bitsakis and Anderson made six combined relatively easy stops in the first two-plus minutes of bonus hockey, Jared Turcotte drew a tripping penalty on Wilderness defenseman Tyler Hart.
 
On the ensuing power play, Salsberry fired a rolling shot from the middle of the blue line that Anderson moved to his left to play, but a shot-block attempt by the Minnesota defense redirected the puck the other direction and in, lifting the Cats to a 4-3 win and the weekend split.
 
Giesler got the Bobcats started in the first, scoring on a Matt Perry rebound 1:18 into the game then adding a power play goal at the 7:06 mark to deliver that 2-0 lead that set the stage for Minnesota’s second-period surge.
 
Bitsakis needed just 17 saves to pick up his 10th win of 2014-15, tied for third in the NAHL; Anderson slipped to 5-3-1 despite 23 stops.
 
The Bobcats will wrap up a three-game home stand Friday when they host the arch-rival Aberdeen Wings for a 7:15pm tilt.
 
Tickets are now on sale for the fourth installment of the Titan Machinery Dakota Cup: fans can buy and print tickets 24 hours a day at BismarckBobcats.com or charge by phone at 222-3300.
 
Live coverage of the home stand finale will begin at 6:45pm locally on SuperTalk 1270, KLXX-AM, the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, and worldwide online at NAHL.FASTHockey.com, the official web television partner of the North American Hockey League.
 
Though the 2014-15 season is now under way, there is still time to order season tickets for the year; fans who want to lock in their seats for the entire campaign should call the Bobcat office at 222-3300 today!