Can’t You Hear Me Knoch-in’

BISMARCK, ND – Faced with a furious rally by the visiting Minot Minotauros, the Bismarck Bobcats captured a bit of magic in the final minute of regulation to secure a 3-2 win over the Tauros Thursday at the VFW Sports Center.

With the win, the Bobcats officially wrap up the first half of 2011-12 with a record of 24-5-1 and 49 points, both franchise records for the first half of the season.

After Minot’s Jadin Martin capped a rugged comeback by the Tauros to tie the game 2-2 with 1:54 left in regulation, the Bobcats created an up-ice rush that their top line would cash in.

Triggering the transition chance, Dan Zawacki made an entry feed to Adam Knochenmus, who proceeded to bury a low wrister past Minot goalie with 21 seconds left to boost the Cats to the 3-2 lead.

“Bryce Schmitt drove to the front and cleared out the defense and Dan’s pass was just about perfect,” recalled Knochenmus, who now has six goals since coming to the Bobcats in late September. “They did the hard work, which made things a lot simpler for me with a wide-open shot and traffic in front of the net.”

The Bobcats took control of the early stretch of the game on back-to-back goals in the first six minutes as Filip Starzynski redirected a Tyler Richter shot 3:35 into the game before Donald Olivieri cashed in a give-and-go with Cody Boyd for a 2-0 lead just 5:29 into the game.

“Cody made a great play… for a rookie—or for anybody,” joked Olivieri, who now leads all NAHL defensemen in goals with 11. “He got his head up on the rush and found a good seam to get it back to the front.”

Minot battled back to level with a second period strike by forward Denis Dalidovich that deflected off a Bobcat defender and in past goalie Tommy Burke before Martin made a redirect in the final two minutes of regulation to set the stage for Knochenmus’ heroics.

Hebda was saddled with his 15th loss of 2011-12 despite 31 saves, including 24 in the second and third periods.

Burke picked up his 16th victory of the year—third-most among NAHL goalies—behind 21 saves.

“It was really good to get back out on the ice and play a game after a long layover for Christmas,” noted Burke, who trimmed his GAA to 2.46 with the win. “It can be hard to give yourself a lot of energy after you’ve been off for over a week but the guys did a good job and got a big boost from the crowd to get a divisional win—and that’s what matters.”

The Bobcats will have no time to admire their 24th win of 2011-12, as they turn right around and take on the archrival Aberdeen Wings Friday with a 7:15 PM showdown at Odde Ice Center—the seventh installment of the Titan Machinery Dakota Cup, which the Cats lead 12-1.

Friday’s inter-Dakota grudge match 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 6:45. 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!