ALBERT LEA, MN – The Bismarck Bobcats bounced back from their first regulation loss in over a month in resounding fashion Saturday, routing the Albert Lea Thunder 8-2 at Albert Lea Arena.
For the second straight night, a big third period broke the game open—and this time, it was the Bobcats putting on the after burners.
Leading 4-2 after two periods, Jason Fabian extended the Bobcat lead to 5-2 with 14:34 left in regulation on a shorthanded breakaway goal, Bismarck’s second shorthanded tally of the night.
The lead stayed at three goals until the 3:00 mark of regulation when Bobcat forward Casey Kleisinger finished a picture-perfect power play give-and-go play with Ryan Jacobson, slamming a slap shot past an out-of-position Ben Waalkens to make it a 6-2 spread.
Just 19 seconds later, center Trent Johnson notched his second of the night, popping a backhander past Waalkens for a 7-2 score.
Gavin Hartzog put an 8-2 exclamation point on the night with 20 seconds left, taking a face-off win from Fabian and wiring a hard wrister over Waalkens just moments after absorbing a late cheap shot from Thunder forward Mike Kantor that gave the Bobcats a 5-on-3 power play.
The Bobcats started the game on fire, tallying three goals before the first intermission as Nick Jensen opened the scoring 6:55 into the contest with his second shorthanded goal of the year.
Less than two minutes later, Jacobson notched his team-leading 15th goal of the year—wristing an Albert Lea defensive zone giveaway under Waalkens’ glove to make it 2-0 ‘Cats.
Brett Bower followed up with 3:42 left in the first, finishing a give-and-go with Kleisinger for his first goal of the year and a 3-0 Bobcat lead heading into the first intermission.
Johnson capped the first of two Bobcat four-goal rallies with his third of the year, beating Waalkens with a backhander from a bad angle.
Albert Lea threatened to get back into the game with goals from Derek Docken and Stephen Obarzanek, but a line brawl in the Thunder zone with 7:54 left in the second period and a successful Bobcat penalty kill squelched the home side’s momentum heading into the third.
Bobcat goalie Ryan Faragher made 26 saves on the way to his 10th win of the season; Waalkens made 34 saves but suffered his 10th loss.
The Bobcats return to action Friday, opening a seven-game homestand with a 7:15 PM contest against the North Iowa Outlaws at the VFW Sports Center.
The game 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.
You won\’t want to miss any of the games this season, so order your 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.