Bring on 2012

MINOT, ND – The Bismarck Bobcats wrapped up the year 2011 on a high note, rattling off four straight goals on the way to dumping the rival Minot Minotauros 5-2 Saturday at Maysa Arena to sweep their three-in-three weekend and head into 2012 with a 14-point lead in the NAHL Central Division.

“Taking six points in a weekend is really difficult to do, so we’re really happy to be able to grab three wins—especially in three nights,” noted Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie. “With first place and fourth place only five points apart at the end of last season in the Central, we know how huge six points can be.”

Dan Zawacki got the offense rolling early with his second goal in as many nights, cashing in the Bobcats’ first power play chance by redirecting a centering feed from Danny Ray past Minot goalie Jake Hebda 4:04 into the game for a 1-0 lead.

Shane Omdahl doubled the lead 1:20 later with a power play tally of his own, redirecting a Castan Sommer shot over Hebda’s glove for a 2-0 edge for the visitors.

“Both power play units moved the puck well all weekend,” credited Omdahl, who scored for the first time since October 29, “so it was good to see guys rewarded for their hard work and playing their roles on the power play and to get back on track after struggling there for a bit.”

Tyler Richter made it 3-0 in favor of the Cats with 16 seconds left in the first, lining home a Grant Mindt rebound for his 16th goal of 2011-12.

Danny Ray capped the Bobcats’ four-goal rally 9:50 into the second on a 4-on-4 snapping in an Adam Knochenmus rebound off a face-off set play triggered by Sommer.

Minot battled their way onto the scoreboard with 6:03 left in the second when Richard Young tapped a Seth Blair rebound past Bobcat netminder Tommy Burke to shave the lead to 4-1.

Richter responded with his second of the night, pushing the Cats’ advantage back to four goals when he one-timed a back door pass from Knochenmus with 1:05 remaining in the middle frame.

“Our goal tonight was to have a more consistent game than Thursday night,” explained Richter, referring to the Cats’ last-minute 3-2 win over Minot. “We wanted to put together a 60-minute effort and give ourselves a good lead instead of letting them hang around.”

Young matched Richter with his second strike on Saturday 3:07 into the third, stripping the puck at the Minot blue line and creating a breakaway that the big forward finished with a rising snap shot over Burke’s glove for the final 5-2 margin.

Burke finished the night with 26 saves and moved into a tie for second place league-wide with his 17th win of the season. Hebda turned away 35 shots but suffered his 16th loss of 2011-12.

The Bobcats open the 2012 side of their schedule Thursday with a showdown of the top two teams in the Central Division when the Austin Bruins come to town for a 7:15 PM matchup at the VFW Sports Center.

Thursday’s contest will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270, KLXX-AM, and worldwide on the official internet television partner of the NAHL, FASTHockey, at Pregame coverage gets under way at 7:05. Fans can watch the game—and all away contests—live at Reza’s Pitch at Third and Front in Bismarck, the official away game home of Bobcat Hockey.

Season tickets are still available for the second half of the 2011-12 season—and going fast! Call the Bobcat Hockey office at (701) 222-3300 or email for more information on reserving a pro-rated package for the rest of the season!