Finishing the Start

Dominant Third Earns Bobcats Preseason Split

BISMARCK, ND – The Bismarck Bobcats unloaded five unanswered goals—including four in the third period—to rally past the Minot Minotauros for a 5-2 win Saturday at the VFW Sports Center to finish the 2013 preseason with a 1-1-0 record.

After falling behind 2-0 after one, the Cats’ power play sparked a rally 5:31 into the second period as rookie forward Cullen Willox blasted a one-timer from Matt Perry over the glove of former Bobcat netminder Brandon Wildung to cut the Tauros’ lead in half.

Veteran goalie Aaron Nelson provided a number of critical stops following Willox’s tally, denying point-blank opportunities from Minot forwards Kiril Metlyuk and Jack Forbort to hold the deficit at 2-1 after two.

“What can you say? That’s just ‘Nelly’ being ‘Nelly,’” joked Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, whose team bounced back from its first preseason defeat in four years the night before. “He wanted to get out there and get a win after we lost [Friday] but I told him I’d seen enough with the saves he made there in the second.”

Sedevie would lift Nelson in favor of first-year goaltender Dylan Parker for the third period.

It wouldn’t take long for the Bobcats to strike in the third as former Jamestown Ironman Tyler Dunagan grabbed a turnover created by linemate Brendan Harris and fired a close-range blast over Wildung’s glove to even the score at two a mere 32 seconds into the final frame.

Perry continued the Cats’ surge with 11:04 to go in the game, collecting a Willox rebound and burying it before Wildung could recover to stake the home side to their first lead at 3-2.

Wingers Eric Ylitalo and Evan Giesler put the finishing touches on the Bobcats’ home win, scoring similar-looking goals from the high slot in a span of 73 seconds for the final count of 5-2.

“Our guys put together back-to-back strong third periods [Friday and Saturday], which is something that we pride ourselves on as a team,” analyzed Sedevie, whose squad outscored the Tauros 6-0 in the third period over the course of the two-game preseason. “Guys got their feet wet [Friday] and made the right adjustments [Saturday] to start putting up points.”

Things looked bleak after one for the Bobcats, who conceded two transition goals in a 48 second span to Minot’s Blake Aguilar and Krisztian Nagy to stumble into a 2-0 hole through 20 minutes of play.

Nelson did not factor into the decision for the Bobcats; Parker picked up the preseason win with a light workload in the third. Wildung dropped to 1-1-0 on the preseason for Minot.

With the preseason now in the rear view, the Bobcats now get a week and a half off before the season opener on Wednesday, September 18, at 7:45 PM against last year’s regular-season North Division champion Soo Eagles at the Easton NAHL Showcase in Blaine, Minn. Also on the Cats’ schedule in Blaine are the Amarillo Bulls, Janesville Jets and Johnstown Tomahawks.

The 2013-14 regular season lid-lifter will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270, KLXX-AM, and worldwide on the internet television partner of the North American Hockey League, Pregame coverage will get under way at 7:15 PM.

Season tickets for the 2013-14 season are now on sale—and going fast! Reserve your seats for the new season, including the brand new Dasher Bar, by calling the Bobcat Hockey office at 222-3300.