Bobcats Prepare for Bruins’ First Visit

BISMARCK, ND – The Bismarck Bobcats will look to keep pace in a wide-open Central Division race as they welcome the expansion Austin Bruins for their first-ever visit to the VFW Sports Center in a two-game series Friday and Saturday.

Despite having a division-best .646 winning percentage, the Bobcats (15-8-1, 31 pts) currently sit one point out of first place behind the streaking Owatonna Express (14-9-4, 32 pts) thanks to the Express having played three more games. Coulee Region (13-7-2, 28 pts) is just four points behind Owatonna in the Central chase.

Standing in the Cats’ way will be the Bruins, fresh off a 5-4 home upset of the Alexandria Blizzard on Saturday. Austin started the season at 1-6-0 but have bounced back and gone a much steadier 7-8-1 since the Bobcats swept a two-game series at Riverfront Arena in early October.

Three-year NAHL veteran Keegan Asmundson has been a constant between the pipes for the Bruins, notching a 3.04 GAA and a .917 SV% in 17 starts.

Discipline will be big key to topping Asmundson and the Bruins, according to Bobcats assistant coach Adam Gill.

“Austin is a team that likes to get in your face after whistles and try and draw you into dumb penalties,” said Gill. “We’ve had some problems lately staying out of the box, so our guys need to take extra care to keep their cool and not get drawn into needless penalties.

The Bobcats will look to continue to ride the hot play of veteran forwards as the Bruins make their first trip to the Peace Garden State. Captain Matt Gates has been stuffing the score sheet of late, with seven goals and seven assists in his last 11 games; Gates’ linemate Frank DeAugustine, this week’s NAHL Central Division Player of the Week, has four goals in his last five games and ten points in his last ten contests.

Ryan Faragher bounced back last Friday from a tough 5-1 loss at Alexandria on Black Friday with a rock-solid 12-save performance in a 5-1 rout of the Aberdeen Wings. Faragher, who went 1-1-0 at this week’s Top Prospects Tournament in Boston, is 14-6-1 with a 2.26 GAA and a .918 SV% on the year.

“Austin is a team that we’ve had success against,” noted Gill, “so this weekend’s series will actually be a great test of our team’s maturity level. We’ve had a problem with slow starts, even in Austin, so as a coaching staff we want to see if the guys can come out and put together a strong start and take control early.”

The puck drops for both Friday and Saturday’s at 7:15 PM at the VFW Sports Center. Doors open at 6:15 PM with Buck-Off Beers from 6:45 PM until the opening faceoff.

Both nights’ contests will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270, KLXX-AM, and worldwide at Pre-game coverage will begin for both games 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!