Bobcats in Driver’s Seat after First Half

BISMARCK, ND — With a record of 19-8-1, the Bismarck Bobcats will come off the holiday break rested, refreshed and–most importantly–sitting in first place in the NAHL\’s Central Division.

The Central Division is presently one of the tightest races in the league with the Cats (39 pts) just three points ahead of the second place Owatonna Express (16-12-4, 36 pts) and five points up on the Coulee Region Chill (16-9-2, 34 pts).

One big factor in the jam-packed Central will be the concept of \”games in hand,\” or the number of games teams have played relative to others in the standings. As the NAHL\’s standings are based on a standard hockey points system, having fewer games played is considered beneficial as a team with more games remaining has a higher potential for points in the standings.

Right now, the Chill have played the fewest games of any NAHL team with 27; conversely, Owatonna has played more games than any other team in the Central with 32 GP. The Bobcats have played 28 games so far, which—combined with their standings lead over both the Chill and the Express—puts them in control of their own destiny for their third straight regular season divisional title.

First place at the holiday break not only puts the Cats in charge of the division, but also guarantees the defending champs will be well-represented at January\’s 2011 Top Prospects Tournament in Ann Arbor, Mich.

As with seasons past, the league standings were frozen after the final games before Christmas and, by virtue of the top spot in the division, the Bobcats will place the most players on Team Central at the highly scouted three-day event.

Additionally, the Cats\’ division-best .696 winning percentage means that Bismarck head coach Layne Sedevie will also be the head coach for Team Central in Ann Arbor.

Thanks to a new wrinkle in the NAHL\’s playoff rules, though, the Central Division is no longer the Bobcats\’ only concern, standings-wise, heading into the second half of the 2010-11 campaign.

During the 2010 offseason, the league trimmed the number of teams in the Robertson Cup Tournament from five—as it had been during the past two seasons—down to four. The host Topeka Roadrunners will still be granted an automatic bid to the national tournament, but should they fail to win the South Division in 2011, the two divisional winners with the lowest points totals in the regular season standings will play a three-game series to decide the fourth team at nationals.

Right now the Bobcats have the lowest point total of any division leader at 39, but—to their benefit—also have the fewest games played, putting them in striking distance of the South-leading Texas Tornado (19-7-5, 43 pts), the North-leading St. Louis Bandits (23-8-4, 50 pts) and the West-leading Fairbanks Ice Dogs (22-9-2, 46 pts). If the Cats win out their games in hand over the Tornado, Bandits and Ice Dogs, they would have the most points of any current division leader.

The Bobcats will simultaneously close out 2010 and open the first half of the 2010-11 season when the arch-rival Aberdeen Wings come to the VFW Sports Center on Thursday night for a 7:15 PM showdown.

Thursday’s 2010 finale will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270, KLXX-AM, and worldwide at Pre-game coverage will begin at 6:45 PM CT.

Season tickets are now on sale for the 2010-11 season! Call the Bobcat Hockey office at (701) 222-3300 or email for more information on reserving your seats for the entire season as the Bobcats look to defend the Robertson Cup!