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Bring Your Green Hat

Cats Top Minot 5-2, Run Streak to Five
 
MINOT, ND – The Bismarck Bobcats shrugged off an early deficit and an emotional first period to score three unanswered goals and knock off the first-place Minot Minotauros 5-2 Thursday at Maysa Arena for their fifth consecutive win to open 2015.
 
It was the Tauros who struck first Thursday when forward Tim Athley swatted home a 2-on-2 pass from Minot High product Quinn Fuchs with 12:17 to go in the first period to snare a quick 1-0 lead.
 
But the Bobcats dialed up an answer on the power play with 9:49 on the clock in the opening frame when Evan Giesler poked a Cullen Willox rebound in past Tauros netminder Atte Tolvanen on the power play to knot the game at one.
 
Just 81 seconds later, the Cats converted another power play on an Oskars Batna deflection of a point shot from Tanner Salsberry that trickled inside the left post to post the visitors to a 2-1 advantage.
 
Minot responded with a power play strike of their own when captain Jon Lizotte wired a low shot through traffic that beat Bobcat goalie Hunter Shepard glove side to tie the game 2-2 with 6:14 remaining in the first.
 
Thursday’s first period continued the season-series-long trend of penalty minute spikes as the two sides combined for 64 penalty minutes in the opening 20 minutes, including a fight and four misconducts.
 
Once the game settled down in the second, the Cats took the lead on the rush as Jared Pike strung a low pass through to the back door that linemate Jared Turcotte blasted home with 7:51 remaining in the middle stanza to push the visitors in front to stay at 3-2. It was Turcotte’s first goal since December 12.
 
Giesler stretched the lead to 4-2 a mere 1:32 into the third, tapping in an Alex Strand rebound on the forecheck for his second of the night and his fourth goal of 2015.
 
The Bobcat defense clamped down on Minot’s prolific attack the rest of the way, holding the Minotauros to just nine shots in the final frame—all turned away by Shepard.
 
Strand put the finishing touches on the victory with an empty-netter from center ice with 1:51 to go in regulation for the final score of 5-2 and the Cats’ fifth straight road win dating back to December 20.
 
Shepard turned in 25 saves to earn his fifth straight win and improve to 8-9-0 on his rookie campaign. Tolvanen made 32 stops but suffered his eighth regulation defeat of 2014-15.
 
Now the Bobcats’ attention turns to a home-and-home series with the Brookings Blizzard, starting Friday at the VFW Sports Center at 7:15pm.
 
Tickets are on sale right now for Friday's home date: fans can buy and print their tickets online 24 hours a day at BismarckBobcats.com or charge by phone at 222-3300
 
Live coverage of Thursday’s road showdown in Minot will begin at 6:40pm locally on SuperTalk 1270, KLXX-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.
 
Though the 2014-15 season is over half way through, there is still time to order season tickets for the year; fans who want to lock in their seats for the remainder of the campaign should call the Bobcat office at 222-3300 today!