BISMARCK, ND–Home ice came up short for the Bobcats for the first time this season Wednesday night.
Tim Donohue scored at 4:28 of overtime, banging in a rebound off of Bobcat goalie Scott Albertoni (Arvada, CO) to lift the Minot Minotauros to a 4-3 win at the VFW Sports Center.
The loss was the first in nine games on home ice for the Bobcats (12-7-2) this season. It was also the second straight loss to the Minotauros (9-12-2), who have now won four straight and closed the gap to six points for third place in the NAHL Central Division.
Bismarck rallied to preserve a point in the standings when Stanislav Dzakhov (Moscow, Russia) rammed in a rebound from Filip Starzynski’s (Warsaw, Poland) tough angle attempt late in the third period, a goal that came in the face of 28 minutes of penalty time, including the loss of forward Huba Sekesi to a game ejection for spearing in the second period.
"To be honest, I don’t know how we found a way to get a point," said Bobcat head coach Layne Sedevie. "We started on our heels, and we seemed to wake up after Minot scored. We executed some things well, but turnovers in the slot are usually going to end up in the back of your net."
Donohue’s game-winner came when Jaden Martin fought off defensive pressure to the left of the Bobcat net with the overtime clock winding down. He picked the puck away, turned, and fired into Albertoni, who turned the shot away, but left the net open for a waiting Donohue, who finished with two goals and an assist.
Minot scored first when Donohue whipped a wrister in from the right circle just 2:20 into the game, going top shelf over Abertoni’s glove hand. Tony German (Bismarck, ND) would answer with the finish of a brilliant pass from Joonas Huovinen (Oulu, Finland), tying the game 1-1 at 10:31 of the first.
Bismarck took it’s lone lead early in the second on a play started by the 17-year-old Albertoni. Choosing against covering a puck for a whistle, he played it strong to the boards, finding rookie Cullen Willox. Willox then slashed in on a two-on-one, and fed Evan Giesler (Naperville, IL) for the finish and a 2-1 Bobcat edge at 4:19 of the second.
Penalties would catch up to end the frame. After Alexander Kasitsan equalized the game at 7:31, Bobcat Matt Perry (Lakeville, MN) was hit with a boarding call at 17:38. Moments later, at 17:59, Sekesi received a whistle for a tripping minor and a spearing double minor, resulting of 1:39 of a five-on-three power play for Minot, six additional minutes of at least a one-man advantage for the Minotauros, and the loss of Sekesi on a game ejection.
It only took 14 seconds for the damage to be done. Jon Lizotte, who scored the game winner two weeks ago off of a draw in Minot, tallied from a draw in the Bobcat zone in the five-on-three, delivering the Minotauros a 3-2 edge at 18:13.
The Bobcats freed one skater after the Minotauro goal, but faced 3:59 seconds on the penalty kill to start the third. After that kill was successful, Willox was tagged for hooking at 5:59, forcing the Bobcats to play six of the first eight minutes of the period down a man.
Bismarck fought back, however, and Starzynski, the leading scorer on the team, found the puck in the left corner of the Minot zone, turned, and fired a shot parallel to the goal line, deflected by Brandon Wildung in front of the crease. Dzakhov was waiting, and buried the score with 6:21 left of regulation, a goal that eventually earned the Bobcats a point in the standings, tying the game at 3-3, the score at the end of regulation.
During the overtime, however, the Bobcats managed only one shot on goal, and, despite outshooting the Minotauros 25-21, dropped the matchup on Donohue’s overtime score.
The Bobcats play at home again Friday night, hosting the first-place Austin Bruins, with an eight-point gap separating the teams in the Central Division race. Faceoff is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.