Donny Clutch

BLAINE, MN – The Bismarck Bobcats found a way to win a game that they never led, rallying for a 4-3 overtime victory over the Alaska Avalanche Thursday at the Combat Hockey NAHL Showcase.

Trailing 3-2 late in regulation, the Bobcats were able to manage the equalizer when a Dan Kovar shot trickled past Avs goalie Blake Mendenhall but stopped right on the goal line. Forward Nick Miglio was the first player to realize the puck was not in and dove to jab the loose biscuit into the net for a 3-3 tie the game with 4:36 left in the third.

It did not take the Cats long to convert in overtime; Castan Sommer found Donald Olivieri at the right point on the forecheck 44 seconds into bonus hockey and Olivieri unleashed a rising blast that beat Mendenhall high to the stick side and improve the Bobcats record to 2-0-0 on the young season.

“I was a goalie, so I can teach guys how to defend and coach them up that way, but I can’t teach offense like what Donald brings,” admitted Bobcats head coach Layne Sedevie. “All three of his goals this week have been incredible shots; he’s feeling it and getting the puck on net.”

It was Alaska who opened the scoring, though, just 1:23 into the game when Cobi Smith-Mass grabbed a loose puck and fired a shot past the glove of Bobcat goaltender Brandon Wildung to boost the Avalanche to a quick 1-0 lead.

The Bobcats answered 2:23 later on Shane Omdahl’s first of the year; the rookie out of Roseau, Minn., stole an Avalanche outlet past and beat Mendenhall top shelf for a 1-1 tie.

Alaska pushed back out in front on a late power play goal in the first as Gage Christianson slammed home a Joe Schmitz rebound with 3:59 left in the frame.

Sedevie was incensed on the goal, insisting to the officials that defenseman Rory Vesel had been interfered with while trying to retrieve his stick, which had been knocked out of his hands earlier in the play.

“It’s a pretty textbook call, interference or unsportsmanlike conduct,” mentioned Sedevie, who ran his NAHL Showcase record to 4-1-1. “Rory didn’t have his stick and he couldn’t clear the rebound and that nearly cost us.”

Omdahl’s second of the night restored a 2-2 tie, as the rookie once again stole the puck on an attempted Avalanche clear and beat Mendenhall for the even-up.

Alaska reclaimed the lead at 3-2 just 4:59 later when Mitch Kontny popped home a feed from Ross Pavek, setting the stage for the Cats’ late-game heroics.

The Bobcats penalty kill was a big-time savior for the defending Central Division champs, stopping the Avalanche on 8 of 9 power play opportunities to keep the game within reach.

Wildung stopped 36 shots to pick up his first win at the junior level; Mendenhall made 18 saves but fell to 0-0-1.

The Bobcats continue their Showcase schedule with a 5:00 PM showdown against the defending South Division champion Amarillo Bulls at the Schwan Super Rink. They’ll wrap up the 2011 Combat Hockey NAHL Showcase Saturday with a 4:00 PM matchup against the expansion Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings.

Both games 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 will begin 30 minutes before the start of each game.

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 for more information on reserving your seats for the upcoming season!