BISMARCK, ND–The Bobcats equaled their longest winning streak of the season in dominating fashion Saturday night.
Bismarck pumped in five goals in the first two periods, while goaltender Aaron Nelson (Bismarck, ND) withstood Minotauro chances for two-and-a-half periods for a 5-1 win at the VFW Sports Center in Bismarck.
Ryan Callahan (Grafton, ND) scored twice and Filip Starzynski (Warsaw, Poland) assisted twice for four points in just two games back from injury as the Bobcats (28-13-14) extended their winning streak to five games, the third time they have reached that mark this season.
“We had a good 20 minutes in their barn last night,” said Bobcat head coach Layne Sedevie, referring to Bismarck’s 3-1 win at Minot a night ago. “But we played 60 minutes of hockey tonight. Our penalty kill was awesome, and we overcame some adversity.”
That adversity came in the form of two full five-on-three power plays for the Minotauros (19-25-3), who were pests all evening, attempting to draw the Bobcats, who were already without the services of Huba Sekesi (Munich, Germany) into major penalties. The first of the two-man advantages came as the second period ended, while the second came deep in the third.
Neither resulted in a score, and the Bobcats had control of the game since the halfway point of the first period.
Callahan stepped between two defenders on top of the Minotauro slot, sending a wrister past Merrick Madsen at 12:27 of the first. Shortly after, Cullen Willox (Eagan, MN) played a crisp two-man game with Tyler Dunagan (Maple Grove, MN) dropping a pass in the right circle that Dunagan finished at 16:08.
Starzynski recorded the first of his assists with a pass from the left corner to the top of the Minot slot for Stanislav Dzakov (Moscow, Russia) at 19:18, moving the Bobcat lead to 3-0 after one.
Minot had a long hold of the puck in the Bobcat end to start the second, but Nathan Flynn (Hastings, MN) chipped a puck off the wall to clear, and Starzynski picked it up, firing a shot in on Brandon Wildung, who replaced Madsen after the first in the Minot net. Dan Kovar (Bismarck, ND) cleaned the miss in the left circle and scored the rebound, taking the lead to 4-0.
Callahan then finished a Dzakhov miss at 13:13 of the second to cap the Bobcat scoring with a 5-0 lead. Nelson was relieved halfway through the third by Scott Albertoni (Arvada, CO), and Colton Kramer forced a rebounded puck out of a flurry in front of the net past him for the lone Minot goal at 11:33.
The Bobcats again take control of first place in the NAHL Central Division by a point over Austin, with the Bruins’ matchup with Kenai River in Alaska pending. Bismarck hits the road to the Minnesota Wilderness next weekend.