BISMARCK, ND–The Bismarck Bobcats end a six-game road trip with a game at Minot Friday, then their first home game in three weeks Saturday, hosting the Minotauros to complete the home-and-home weekend.
A sweep of front-running Austin on the road last weekend has pulled the Bobcats to within a point of the Central Division race. The sweep also pushed the Bobcats to 3-2 on the road trip, with Friday’s test in Minot the difference of a .500 trip or above.
“Obviously, you want to be above .500 on the road, and we’ve been a good road team lately,” said Bobcat head coach Layne Sedevie Wednesday night. “But we’ve had some struggles with Minot in their building.”
Indeed, the Bobcats did struggle in their last visit to Minot. They began their current road swing by mustering just 18 shots in a 2-1 loss to the Minotauros on January 19th. Nate Repensky (Duluth, MN) scored the lone goal, and backstopper Scott Albertoni (Arvada, CO) was denied a deserved win, shutting Minot out for 46 minutes and recording 32 saves.
Bismarck is 4-2-2 versus Minot this season, but is 1-2-2 in the last five meetings after winning the first three between the teams this season. Their lone win in the last five was a 3-2 shootout win, in which Aaron Nelson (Bisamrck, ND) stopped all five Minotauro shooters. Repensky scored the lone shootout goal.
However, the Bobcats are riding a three-game winning streak, a streak started with a bounceback 4-3 shootout win over Wenatchee, and punctuated by a 7-0 rout of the Bruins last Saturday night. Bismarck ended Austin’s six-game winning streak last weekend, and became the first team to score more than four goals against them since mid-November.
Huba Sekesi (Munich, Germany) enters the game as the reigning NAHL Central Division Star of the Week, scoring three goals and four points last weekend. Tyler Dunagan (Maple Grove, MN) also scored three goals and four points. Nelson earned both wins last weekend, and notched his second shutout this season on Saturday.
Cullen Willox (Eagan, MN) leads the Bobcats against Minot this season, with four goals and six assists. Repensky has nine points on two goals and seven assists in the series, and Sekesi has two game winners and seven points against the Minotauros.
Jon Lizotte and Colton Kramer each have three goals and two assists to lead Minot in the season series with the Bobcats. However, the weekend will debut Michael Louria as a Minotauro. Louria was acquired in a trade with Janesville of the NAHL North Division, with the Minotauros giving up defensemen Michael Bigelbach in the process. Louria has 19 goals and 21 assists this season.
Friday’s game in Minot has a scheduled faceoff of 8:05 p.m. Saturday’s game in Bismarck starts at 7:15 p.m. Minot will play tonight at Aberdeen, while the Bobcats are idle.
Tickets for Saturday’s game are still available at 222-3300 or online at www.bismarckbobcats.com.