BISMARCK, ND–After a tough overtime loss on their home ice Wednesday, the Bobcats showed the NAHL and the hometown crowd just how dangerous they can be at home Friday night.
Behind an offensive showing by Seth Blair (Bismarck, ND) and Tommy Malkmus (Bismarck, ND), along with 33 saves by goalie Aaron Nelson (Bismarck, ND), the Bobcats blitzed the first-place Austin Bruins 4-0 at the VFW Sports Center.
"We strive to be complete every night on the ice. Tonight, we knew how big these two points would be. We needed a couple of saves, and Nellie (Nelson) got them for us," head coach Layne Sedevie said.
Hosting the Bruins for the first time this season, Bismarck (13-7-2) used a complete effort, scoring the first goal in less than five minutes against Austin goalie Nick Lehr, who was second in the NAHL in goals against, at just 1.30 a game. Behind Nelson, the held the Bruins (17-7-0) out of the net during a second period that saw multiple Bruin chances. Bismarck’s penalty kill fought off 9 power plays, and the offense tallied four times against a team allowing 2.09 goals a game.
With 28 points, Bismarck closed the game to six points in the NAHL Central Division race, and now trails Aberdeen by just one for second, after the Wings loss at Minot Friday night.
Blair launched his first goal of the night from outside the left circle at 4:57, using his ability to shoot from the perimeter to deliver the Bobcats an early lead. His second was identical, from outside the left circle past an open net on Lehr’s glove side at 3:09 of the third, taking the lead to 2-0.
"That’s what he does. Blair has such a huge shot from out there. That first one might have surprised Lehr a bit. It gave us some great momentum," Sedevie explained.
Evan Giesler (Naperville, IL) backhanded the third score in, as Cullen Willox (Eagan, MN) recorded his 11th point in as many games, and Malkmus started the play of the right boards, giving the Bobcats a 3-0 edge at 7:57 of the third. Malkmus recorded his fourth points on an empty net with 34 seconds to go.
Blair did more than just score twice. Eli May engaged Blair late in the third, and the engagement ended with Blair sending a right cross into May’s earhole two seconds into the clash. As Blair skated to the box, his gesture of asking the crowd for a response drew a thunderous ovation from the Bismarck crowd.
It was the second fight of the night, after Dan Kovar (Bismarck, ND) threw Dion Antisin to the ice after a long bout that saw Antisin attack Kovar’s body, with Kovar landing the final shots, also to the home crowd’s approval.
The Bobcats hot Austin again Saturday night, with faceoff scheduled for 7:15. Tickets are still available at the Bobcat ticket office or online at www.bismarckbobcats.com.