Dakota Road

ABERDEEN, SD – The Bismarck Bobcats will hit the road this weekend for their first two true away games of 2011-12 as they travel to the Aberdeen Wings Friday and the Minot Minotauros Saturday.

“It may only be the third week of the regular season, but this weekend will be a good test of our team’s character,” said Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie. “We’re going into an extremely hostile environment against a strong team in Aberdeen Friday then heading up the road to Minot in an unfriendly barn against a team that works really hard. We’ll have to play our best to get four points.”

The Bobcats will travel to raucous Odde Ice Center for a 7:15 PM Friday faceoff against the rival Wings, leading Aberdeen by two points for first place in the Central Division.

Friday’s contest will mark the Wings’ home opener for their second season in the NAHL, so the Bobcats are expecting the house to be rocking when they arrive.

“It’s a loud and chaotic environment, but really we love going down there to play,” admitted Bobcats forward Frank DeAugustine. “Their fans really gave it to us last year, so we want to be able to go in and take the crowd out of it early and just play our game.”

The crowd may be a secondary concern for the Cats, however, when facing sophomore Wings netminder Hunter Leisner. Leisner, who sports an impressive 2.49 goals against average, made 39 saves in Friday’s Wings loss in Bismarck that included numerous highlight reel denials to turn back point-blank scoring chances for the Cats.

To have success against the second-year stopper, the Bobcats feel that their approach needs to stay basic.

“Leisner is a guy that will have a save percentage over .900 all year, so we are going to need to generate a ton of shots on him,” noted Bobcats forward Patrick Moore, who tallied a pair of goals against Leisner on Coors Light Opening Night. “If we put 40-to-50 shots on net, we feel like we’ll be giving ourselves a good chance to win.”

It will be a 7:35 start when the Bobcats travel to Maysa Arena to take on the Minotauros in the first-ever regular season meeting of the two in-state rivals.

The Cats swept a pair of preseason games from the Tauros, outscoring their northern neighbors 15-4 in two games at the VFW Sports Center—but the lopsided preseason results will be far from the minds of the Bobcats on Saturday.

“You can throw those games right out the window,” stressed Sedevie, “because Minot has come out strong in the regular season, beating a talented Wichita Falls team and pushing Fairbanks—who has the best record in the league right now—to the brink at the Showcase. They’re already on the way up.”

Former Austin Bruin and Minot High standout Jadin Martin leads the Minotauros assault with four goals in five games while rookie goalie Jake Hebda holds a 2.93 GAA and a .898 SV% in net for the newest members of the Central Division.

Both games, starting with Friday’s resumption of the Dakota Cup, 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 http://nahl.fasthockey.com. Pregame coverage gets under way at 6:45 on Friday and 7:05 on Saturday.

Season tickets are now on sale for the 2011-12 season—and going fast! Call the Bobcat Hockey office at (701) 222-3300 or email gobobcathockey@aol.com for more information on reserving your seats for the upcoming season!