Bismarck–After taking four points from Wenatchee during a two-game homestand a week ago, the Bismarck Bobcats renew their heated rivalry with the Aberdeen Wings in a home-and-home series this weekend.
Beyond the rivalry between the two clubs and the beginning of the Titan Machinery "Dakota Cup" battle, the clash is an early-season battle for first place in the NAHL Central Division. Aberdeen enters the weekend tied for first place with Austin at 10 points, and the Bobcats have eight points, effectively a game behind.
Jake Horton (Plymouth, MN) and Erik Baskin (Minnetonka, MN) have each found the back of the net four times to lead the club in goals, while defensemen Dillon Eichstadt (Bemidji, MN)has assisted nine times, tops on the team in points overall.
After an impressive five-point series a week ago, Filip Starzynski (Warsaw, Poland) co-leads the Bobcats with nine points, sharing the top spot with Nate Repensky (Duluth, MN). Stanislav Dzakhov (Moscow, Russia) brutalized Wenatchee netminders last weekend with four goals and an assist, and now has eight points for Bismarck.
Tyler Dunagen (Maple Grove, MN) played Bobcat hero to a home-opener crowed at the VFW Sports Center last Friday night, scoring the game-winner on the power play with just 1:16 remaining, lifting the Bobcats to a 4-3 win in game one of the series. Starzynski and Dzakhov launched what would be impressive weekends with scores that built a 2-0 lead. Brendan Harris (Las Vegas, NV) rebuilt the two-goal margin with a counter late in the second before Wenatchee equalized the game in the third.
Dzakhov powered the Bobcats to the sweep Saturday, tallying in each period for the hattrick in a 5-2 rout. Evan Geisler (Naperville, IL) scored just 71 seconds into the game, and added three assists for a four-point night, and Starzynski carded three points with a goal and a pair of helpers.
The puck drops at 7:15 p.m. at the Odde Ice Center in Aberdeen Friday night. The Bobcats then host the Wings Saturday at the VFW Sports Center in Bismarck, also slated to start at 7:15 p.m. Tickets for Saturday's games are still available at the Bobcat ticket office, by phone at 222-3300. The matchups will be broadcast on KLXX-AM Supertalk 1270, with pregame coverage each night beginning at 6:50 p.m.