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Charting a New Route

Bobcats Welcome Minot for Battle of 83
 
Matchup: Bismarck Bobcats (2-4-0, 5th Central) vs. Minot Minotauros (3-2-2, T-1st Central)
Games: Saturday, October 3, 7:15pm
Place: VFW Sports Center, Bismarck, N.D.
Last Year: Minotauros won regular season 7-3-2
All-Time: Bobcats lead Minotauros 31-13-4
Radio: SuperTalk 1270 AM, SuperTalk1270.com and the radioPup smartphone app, 6:45pm
Internet TV: http://NAHL.FASTHockey.com, 6:45pm
 
BISMARCK, ND – Following a disappointing result at the Easton NAHL Showcase one week prior, the Bismarck Bobcats return to the VFW Sports Center Saturday to face their biggest rivals, the Minot Minotauros, looking to get back on track.
 
“On the scoreboard, the Showcase definitely didn’t go the way anyone would’ve hoped, but I don’t think any of our players or coaches believe the scoreboard told the whole story,” asserted Bobcats assistant coach Garrett Roth, as the Cats dropped four games by just combined six goals. “Through every game, we had times where we dominated play and had every chance to win—the bounces just didn’t go our way.”
 
Indeed, the Bobcats outshot their opposition 125-102 in four games Blaine, Minn., but struggled to cash in a major advantage in scoring chances.
 
It was the first time the Bobcats went winless at the Showcase since the 2009-10 campaign, one that saw them start the season 0-5-2 before a red-hot second half that led the Cats to the franchise’s first-ever Robertson Cup.
 
Minot, meanwhile, turned around a rough start to the season with their best Showcase performance in five seasons, posting a 3-1-0 record by following a shutout loss to Wichita Falls with wins over Aston, Amarillo and Corpus Christi.
 
Third-year veteran Johnny Walker—Minot’s top goal scorer a season ago—leads the Tauros in the early goings with four goals and three assists in six appearances; Minot’s top line of Walker, Christian Mohs and Chase Springman has combined for 15 points (8g, 7a).
 
A veteran combo has paced the Bobcats’ offense early on, as well, with returning winger Willie Brown compiling three goals and eight assists for a division-best 11 points while second-year center Aaron Herdt is second in the Central with nine points (4g, 5a). Brown is currently tops in the entire NAHL with 1.83 points per game.
 
Saturday is the two teams’ first meeting since Minot gave the Cats their earliest playoff exit since 2006 in April.
 
“There is definitely a little extra meaning for [Saturday] for the 12 guys in our locker room who skated off the ice in Minot last spring,” admitted Bobcat goaltender Hunter Shepard, who was in net for the final game of the Central Division Semifinals at Maysa Arena—a 2-1 loss. “We all remember how that felt, so we have been looking forward to getting another shot at them on the ice.”
 
In preparation for the league’s 23-man roster deadline, which fell on Thursday, the Bobcats traded forwards Logan Rivard, Nick Bohatiuk and Ryan Mezera to Aston, Amarillo and Breezy Point (NA3HL), respectively, for future considerations. The Cats also made two additions: dealing for forward Parker Mismash from the Wichita Falls Wildcats and rostering free agent Kyle Sylvester, formerly of the Fargo Force in the USHL.
 
Saturday is Insured Win Night, sponsored by Farmers Union Insurance: if the Bobcats defeat the Minotauros, any fan who buys individual game tickets for Section 13—newly christened the Redd’s Wicked Section, presented by Jerome Distributing—will receive free tickets to the October 23 home game.
 
Tickets are now on sale for the big intrastate grudge match: fans can buy and print online 24 hours a day at BismarckBobcats.com or charge by phone at 222-3300.
 
Round One of the Battle of 83 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 this season, now is the time! Call 222-3300 today to reserve your seats.