Bobcats Claim Wild 6-4 Epic over Bruins
BISMARCK, ND – Coming into Friday night, the Bismarck Bobcats’ power play was 2-for-44 over the previous 13 games; Friday the Cats scored two timely power play goals in a wild third period to top the rival Austin Bruins 6-4 at the VFW Sports Center.
As they did the first time the two sides met in September, Austin took the first lead of the night when AJ Drobot cashed in a successful forecheck from blueliner Marcus Karlstrom on a short wrister to put the Bruins up 1-0 8:56 into the game.
With 5:13 left in the first, the Bobcats fought their way to a 1-1 tie on Tobias Fladeby’s third of the year: the Norwegian winger found a Garrett Nelson rebound and stuffed it behind Bruins goalie Kristofer Carlson before he could cover the puck for a whistle.
Austin barged back in front by a score of 2-1 with 12:22 left in the second on a breakaway goal by Minot native Jade Miller, who faked a backhand to pull Bobcat netminder Hunter Shepard to the right and let the puck glide in while Shepard looked for a shot.
Just 41 seconds later, veteran winger Travis Wood snatched a wayward pass at his own blue line and, streaking past the Austin defense for a breakaway, snapped a forehand through Carlson’s five-hole to level the score at two.
Shortly after Bobcat center Jared Resseguie was whistled for a five-minute-major kneeing penalty following Wood’s equalizer, a major clock malfunction in the arena repeatedly halted play.
Bruins winger Gilbert Gabor capitalized on the chaos, scoring from in tight on the major power play with 7:15 left in the second.
When the clock’s problems persisted after Gabor’s go-ahead strike, head referee Camrin Roczey halted play with 5:57 left in the second—and 1:22 remaining on Resseguie’s major—and called an early intermission so work could proceed on the clock. He ruled that after the early intermission the second period would be played out, followed by a one-minute intermissions where teams would switch ends, then the third period with no subsequent ice cut.
After negating the remainder of Resseguie’s infraction when play resumed, the Bobcats pulled even once again with 3:12 to go in the second as Nick Alexander was dumped by the Bruins defense onto Carlson as a shot came in from Kyle Sylvester; the puck bounced off of the falling Alexander, over Carlson and in for a 3-3 deadlock after two.
The Cats took their first lead of the night at 4-3 on the power play with exactly 10:00 left in the game on Gianni Brandi’s first career junior goal as Aaron Herdt found him with a pass in the low slot, allowing the Swiss winger to lift a close-range wrister over Carlson’s glove and in.
That lead would last just 41 seconds: Drobot got a little luck for his second of the night when his centering pass out of the right wing corner bounced off a Bobcat defender, off Shepard and inside the right post for yet another tie score.
Not wasting any time, the Cats seized the lead right back 20 seconds later as Alex Strand used a Harrison Aide forecheck to find a seam in the Austin defense and scorch one over Carlson’s right shoulder for a 5-4 Bobcat lead and the game’s third goal in a 1:02 span.
Strand then put the finishing touches on the game on the power play with 2:49 left, whipping a one-touch pass from Herdt off Carlson and in for the final 6-4 count.
Shepard tied his season-high for goals allowed at four but still snagged his eighth win on 26 saves; Carlson made 45 stops as the Cats sent a season-high 51 shots his way but slipped to 8-5-1.
The two sides will reconvene for the Bruins’ final regular-season appearance at the VFW Sports Center of 2015-16 Saturday at 7:15pm.
Tickets are now on sale for Saturday’s contest: fans can buy and print tickets online 24 hours a day at BismarckBobcats.com or charge by phone 9:00am to 5:00pm by calling 222-3300.
Saturday’s rematch will be broadcast live locally on 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.
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