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Book End Blues

Bobcats Drop Preseason Opener 4-3
 
MINOT, ND – Despite a strong start and a furious finish, the Bismarck Bobcats fell just short in their 2015 preseason debut—losing 4-3 to the Minot Minotauros at Maysa Arena Saturday.
 
Veteran blueliner Garrett Nelson, one of four 2014-15 returners in the lineup Saturday, got the scoring started right away for the visitors, ripping a low liner under the blocker of Minot goalie Brandon Holtby to post the Cats to a 1-0 lead 3:05 into the game.
 
Another Bobcat returner, Jake Tomkowiak, struck 3:48 later to make it 2-0: redirecting a low entry from rookie Eric Weber over Holtby’s glove and under the crossbar.
 
Minot turned the tide late in the first, however, with consecutive tallies from Zack Bross and Grayson Gavin to tie the game at two after the opening stanza.
 
Center Steven Mather put the Tauros ahead at 3-2 just 1:20 into the second, pinballing a low shot through traffic and in past Bobcat netminder David Fessenden. Though Mather’s marker was the only goal of the period, Minot outshot the Cats 13-6 in the second.
 
At the 10:02 mark of the middle frame, keeper Lucas Murray replaced Holtby for the Tauros and proceeded to stop the first 17 shots he faced.
 
Second-year Minotauro Quinn Fuchs added some major insurance for his hometown squad on the power play with 3:52 left in the game, slamming in a bad-angle shot off a broken play to double the lead to 4-2.
 
Fuchs’ tally proved vital for Minot, as Bobcat rookie Luke Picek broke Murray’s spell with 38 seconds left and Fessenden pulled for the extra attacker, looping home a Jeremy Briscoe rebound.
 
In the final half-minute, the Cats pressed in the Minot zone but the Tauros’ defense smothered the puck along the wall to run out the clock and preserve the 4-3 final.
 
Fessenden, a 17-year-old rookie from Denver, stopped 27 shots in preseason debut but couldn’t avoid the loss.
 
Murray picked up the win in relief on 17 saves; Picek’s late goal denied Holtby, who turned aside 11 Bobcat offerings, the decision.
 
The two sides will reconvene Wednesday in the Capital Region as the Cats wrap up their preseason slate with a 7:15pm rematch with the Tauros at the VFW Sports Center. Tickets are on sale now for the exhibition tilt at BismarckBobcats.com.
 
Wednesday’s preseason finale will be broadcast live on locally SuperTalk 1270 AM, the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, and worldwide online at NAHL.FASTHockey.com—the official web television partner of the North American Hockey League—with pregame coverage starting at 6:45pm.
 
Season tickets are now on sale for the 2015-16 campaign; if you want to beat the rush of 40,000 fans for next season, now is the time! Call 222-3300 today to reserve your seats.