Bobcats Prepare for Weekend Playoff Grudge Match

BISMARCK, ND – Having successfully reclaimed home ice advantage and halted a ten-game losing streak to the Alexandria Blizzard, the Bismarck Bobcats make their home playoff debut Friday for the first of two big home postseason contests at the VFW Sports Center this weekend.

After dropping a dispiriting 6-1 final in Game One at the Runestone Center, the Bobcats roared back with a dominating 5-1 Game Two victory over the Blizzard that snapped a losing skid to their rivals across I-94 that dated back to late November.

“Now that we’ve got the monkey off our backs against Alexandria, we’re excited to get back home and get two games in front of the best fans in the NAHL,” said Bobcats forward and Bismarck native Tyler Richter, who notched three assists in the Cats’ Game Two triumph. “Our crowd can turn a game in an instant and we want to keep our momentum going in our barn.”

Game Two was marred by a brawl late in the second period that earned Bobcats forwards Matt Gates and Nikolaj Rosenthal—along with Blizzard forwards Craig Lindegard and Josh Gaughan—game misconduct penalties that threatened to hold out all four players for Friday’s Game Three. All four were able to breathe a sigh of relief earlier this week when the NAHL overturned their suspensions for Friday

The only suspension handed out by the league was to Alexandria forward Rock Einersen, who started the brawl.

Keeping Gates and Rosenthal in the lineup for Game Three is a big boost for the Bobcats, as the two forwards combined for 102 regular season points on 47 goals and 55 assists.

The Bobcats front office is billing Friday’s grudge match as a night to “Pack The House,”—something Bobcat fans have been all too happy to do lately, cramming over 2,500 supporters through the turnstiles during the Cats’ final regular season series against Owatonna.

“Our fans have provided incredible support for our boys all year,” beamed Bobcats owner Thom Brigl, “but now the stakes are sky-high. We need to win two of the next three games to move on, and now two of those games are at the VFW—so we want our house rocking all weekend.”

Bobcat fans will be cheering one of the early NAHL playoff suprises in goalie Tommy Burke who, after replacing Ryan Faragher early in the second period of Game One, has stopped 48 of 49 shots sent his way, making him a main catalyst for the Cats’ split in western Minnesota.

Alexandria’s ever potent attack will counter with sniper Nardo Nagtzaam, whose 87 regular season points put him in second place league-wide in scoring, along with 59-point man Steve Zierke and 2010 North Dakota Sportsman of the Year and former Williston standout Jordan Nelson.

Game Three gets underway at the VFW Sports Center Friday with a 7:15 PM puck drop, with Game Four to follow Saturday at the same time. If necessary, Game Five will be Monday at the Runestone Center at 7:00 PM.

Friday’s home playoff lidlifter will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270, KLXX-AM, and worldwide at http://nahl.fasthockey.com/. Pre-game coverage will begin at 6:45 PM CT.

Season tickets are now on sale for the 2011-12 season! Call the Bobcat Hockey office at (701) 222-3300 or email gobobcathockey@aol.com for more information on reserving your seats for next season!

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