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Grand Opening

Shepard Blanks Bruins as Bobcats Sweep
 
BISMARCK, ND – Second-year goalie Hunter Shepard turned in 23 saves to pick up his second career shutout as the Bismarck Bobcats swept the Austin Bruins with a 3-0 victory Saturday at the VFW Sports Center.
 
Unlike Friday, the Bobcats jumped out to a quick start on the scoreboard Saturday, jumping ahead 1-0 just 7:35 into the game on the power play when Jared Pike collected his own blocked shot on a broken play and rifled a snap shot over the stick of Bruins netminder Austin Smith for his first goal of the year.
 
Shots came at a premium in the opening frame, as the two sides combined for just 13 attempts on net through 20 minutes.
 
Rookie blueliner Tyse Teague doubled the lead to 2-0 a mere 1:23 into the second, guiding a belt-high shot through a screen set by Travis Wood that beat Smith inside the left post for Teague’s second career tally.
 
Shepard came up big as the period wore on, making his biggest save on the penalty kill, kicking out a low Travis Kothenbeutel shot in traffic as the Bruins put on their heaviest pressure of the night.
 
Though they only put four shots on Shepard in the first 17 minutes of the third, the Bruins pulled Smith with just over two minutes left and made one last stand, forcing the Bobcat keeper to make four saves in a 20-second span to keep the clean sheet.
 
Willie Brown, who registered five assists Friday with another helper on Teague’s strike Saturday, closed out the game with 1:32 left, delivering a 150-foot strike into the empty net for his seventh point on a career weekend.
 
“It feels great to be able to get the season started off on the right foot,” expressed Brown, who had 13 points (5g, 8a) in 14 appearances with the Cats as a deadline acquisition in 2014-15. “The most important points, though, are the four we got in the standings.
 
“Both kinds of points are nice, though,” he joked.
 
With the win, Shepard improved to 2-0-0 on the young campaign—putting him in a humorous mood after the game.
 
“I don’t know; I’ve got two wins in the first two games this year, last year I didn’t have two wins in the first two months,” the Cohasset, Minn., native mused on the 1-7-0 start to his NAHL career. “All kidding aside, our veterans had a goal to come out with a stronger start to this season and it doesn’t get much better than two wins in front of our fans over a team like Austin.”
 
Despite making 28 stops, Smith suffered the hard-luck loss in his first start with the Bruins.
 
The Bobcats’ attention now turns to the 13th annual Easton NAHL Showcase at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, Minn. They will open Showcase play Wednesday at 4:15pm against the New Jersey Jr. Titans, with games to follow against the Topeka Roadrunners, Odessa Jackalopes and Coulee Region Chill.
 
Wednesday’s Showcase opener will be broadcast live on locally 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 3:45pm.
 
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.