BISMARCK, ND – Having wrapped up their second straight Central Division regular season championship, the Bismarck Bobcats are looking continue a strong push through the 2009-10 stretch run as they host the Owatonna Express for a two-game series starting Friday night at the VFW Sports Center.
The matchup represents the top two teams in the division with the top-seeded Bobcats (34-10-8, 76 pts) sporting a 14-point lead over the second-place Express (29-21-4, 62 pts).
Despite having home ice advantage clinched, the Bobcats know there’s still plenty to play for over their last six games of 2009-10.
“We’re a little selfish,” said Bobcats forward Tyler Klein, “because we want to go 6-0 through the last three weeks of the schedule. We want to sweep the month and put the rest of the division on notice heading into the playoffs that the Central runs through Bismarck again in 2010.”
Bobcats head coach Byron Pool agreed with Klein’s assessment, and took it a step further.
“As a coaching staff, we know how important it can be to finish the year strong,” said Pool, “last year we went 10-0-0 in March and it gave us a ton of momentum that carried us all the way to Mason City and the Robertson Cup National Tournament.”
This weekend’s two-game set will wrap up the Bobcats-Express season series in which both teams have five wins, but the ‘Cats lead the series in points 14 to 11 by virtue of four of their five losses coming in overtime (one OTL for the Express).
The Express come into the weekend with a nine-point lead on the Alexandria Blizzard (24-21-5, 53 pts) for second place and the last spot for home-ice advantage in the first round of April’s Central Division playoffs; the Bobcats have already secured home-ice through both divisional rounds.
Owatonna’s star-studded cast is led up front by St. Cloud State recruit Cory Thorson’s 22 goals and 29 assists and anchored in net by Matt Hemingway, who enters the series with a 9-7-1 record, a 2.65 GAA and a .913 SV%.
For the ‘Cats, assistant captain Jason Fabian is the top point-getter with 21 goals and 34 assists. Ryan Faragher sets the pace between the pipes for the black and gold at 21-5-7 with a 2.12 GAA and a .921 SV%—placing him in the top five league-wide in all three categories.
Both Friday and Saturday’s games will get underway at 7:15 PM. Friday’s game will have a Spring Break/Hawaiian Night theme with every fan through the door getting their own Hawaiian lei. Saturday Bobcats night assistant coach Layne Sedevie and select Bobcat players will be getting their heads shaved as the ‘Cats partner with Basin Electric to benefit the national St. Baldrick’s campaign for cancer research.
Both games will will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270, KLXX-AM, and worldwide at BismarckBobcats.com via B2 Networks. The pre-game show starts at 6:45 PM each night.
You won\’t want to miss any of the games this season, so order your pro-rated Season Tickets, Family Packs and Group Nights today by calling the Bobcat Hockey Office at 701-222-3300 or by e-mailing the office for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.