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Bend But Don't Break

Bobcats Withstand Late Charge to Edge Aberdeen
 
ABERDEEN, SD – The Bismarck Bobcats surged out to a big lead and survived a furious comeback attempt by the Aberdeen Wings to squeak out a 5-4 win Friday at the Odde Ice Center.
 
Ahead 3-1 through two periods, the Bobcat power play pushed the score to 4-1 just 1:40 into the third when Harrison Aide blasted a one-timer from Cullen Willox over the glove of Aberdeen goalie Andrew Shortridge.
 
With 12:59 to go in regulation, Jared Turcotte stretched that lead to 5-1, diving to his right and twisting home a Nick Wallace rebound for his first goal since September.
 
It would stay a four-goal game until 2:43 to go when Austin Heakins sparked a rally by the Wings, swatting a Drew Doyon feed past Bobcat netminder Alex Bitsakis to cut it to a 5-2 game.
 
Tucker DeYoung and Michael Soucier followed up with over the next 129 seconds, slicing the lead all the way down to one at 5-4 with 34 seconds to go.
 
Aberdeen got two shots through to Bitsakis after Soucier’s team-leading ninth goal, but could not complete the comeback as the Cats’ defense tied up the puck along the end boards over the final 10 seconds to close out what rapidly became a tense win for the visitors.
 
As they did in the third, the Bobcats opened the game with consecutive goals: Tanner Salsberry opened the scoring on a long shot through traffic and Evan Giesler added his division-best 17th of the season on the power play less than two minutes later for a quick 2-0 lead.
 
Victor Ostling got Aberdeen back in the game with a power play goal at the 3:12 mark of the first but Wallace dialed up a response 75 seconds later, wobbling a point shot that deflected in off an Aberdeen defender to push the Cats to a 3-1 edge after one.
 
Neither team was able to score in the second thanks to a combined 15 stops for Bitsakis and Shortridge, setting the stage for the game’s wild finish.
 
Bitsakis turned in 27 saves for his 12th win of the season while Shortridge suffered his first loss against the Bobcats despite 21 stops.
 
The Bobcats now head home to face the Central’s best road team, the Minot Minotauros, who stand 10-1-1 in away games this season, for a 7:15pm showdown Saturday at the VFW Sports Center.
 
Saturday will be Christmas Party Night, featuring the Cats’ second-annual Teddy Bear Toss, an Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest and a visit from Santa.
 
For the Teddy Bear Toss, fans are encouraged to bring stuffed animals that will be thrown out onto the ice following the Bobcats’ first goal. The bears—and other stuffed toys—will then be distributed to kids in need around the Bismarck/Mandan area this holiday season.
 
Tickets are now on sale for Christmas Party Night and the 2014 Teddy Bear Toss: fans can buy and print tickets 24 hours a day at BismarckBobcats.com or charge by phone at 222-3300.
 
Live coverage of Friday’s road tilt in Aberdeen 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!