WASILLA, AK – Bismarck Bobcats goaltender Ryan Faragher turned aside all 30 shots he faced and the Bobcat offense picked up more steam as the ‘Cats shut out the Alaska Avalanche 4-0 Tuesday at the Curtis C. Menard Memorial Arena.
“For a shutout to happen, it has to be a full-team effort,” said Faragher, “and everyone really gave it their all tonight. From beginning to end, everyone kept the feet moving and their heads up and this shutout really goes to everyone [Tuesday].”
The win—the second straight for the defending Central Division champs—gave the Bobcats a series win in the three-game set against the Avalanche in Wasilla.
After needing a big rally in Sunday’s 6-4 win, the Bobcats grabbed an early lead over Alaska and never looked back Tuesday.
Veteran forward Casey Kleisinger opened the scoring just 1:16 into the game, banging a Bryce Schmitt rebound past Avalanche netminder Kale Robertson for a quick 1-0 lead.
Kleisinger followed up late in the first with a well-placed centering feed to linemate Ryan Jacobson which Jacobson one-timed a snap-shot over Robertson’s glove for a 2-0 Bobcat advantage heading to the first intermission.
“Before the game, the coaches emphasized how important it was to get off to a fast start,” said Kleisinger, “so we wanted to get the puck deep early and outwork the other team. So far this year we’ve been chasing teams early so [Tuesday] it was much better to get in the driver’s seat from the start.”
Faragher had the play of the scoreless second period, making a blocker save on a short-handed breakaway by Alaska’s Robb Haider to keep the game at 2-0 in the last two minutes of the middle frame.
“[Haider] was coming in on my left side as a right-handed shot,” recalled Faragher, “I noticed him changing hands so I was waiting on the backhander and was able to put a blocker on it.”
The ‘Cats pulled away in the third when Dominic Panetta drove home a back-door pass from Kleisinger 5:42 into the final frame.
Forward Sam Dougherty notched his first of the year with 1:30 left in regulation into an empty Alaska net for the final 4-0 margin.
In the closing moments, Faragher made two big glove saves to preserve the Bobcats’ first shutout of 2009-10. The Fort Francis, Ont., native is now 2-2-1 on the year.
After the game, Bobcats assistant coach Layne Sedevie credited the win to the team’s shot-blocking and overall defensive effort.
“We were a lot better as a group defensively tonight,” said Sedevie. “We kept it simple, which led to smart hockey in the form of blocked shots and no free rebounds. And it paid off.”
Robertson finished the night with 20 saves as his record dropped to 4-2-0 on the season.
The Bobcats’ Alaska roadtrip makes its final stop for two games this weekend in Soldotna against the Kenai River Brown Bears. The games will be Friday and Saturday at the Soldotna Sports Center. Both contests are scheduled for a 10:30 PM central time puck drop.
The games will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270, KLXX-AM, and worldwide at BismarckBobcats.com via B2 Networks. The pre-game show both nights will get underway at 10:00 PM.
You won\’t want to miss any of the games this season, so order your Season Tickets, Family Packs and Group Night’s today by calling the Bobcat Hockey Office at 701-222-3300 or by e-mailing the office for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.