Grand Opening, Grand Closing

Bobcats to Ring in 2016, Wrap up First Half at Brookings

Matchups: Bismarck Bobcats (16-12-1, 3rd Central) vs Brookings Blizzard (14-13-3, 4th Central)
Game: Saturday, January 2, 7:30pm
Venue: Larson Ice Center, Brookings, S.D.
Season Series: Bobcats lead Blizzard 2-1-1
All-Time: Bobcats lead Blizzard 22-13-3
Radio: SuperTalk 1270 AM, SuperTalk1270.com and the radioPup smartphone app, 7:00pm
Internet TV: http://NAHL.FASTHockey.com, 7:00pm

BROOKINGS, SD – Coming off a two-game sweep of Minot to wrap up 2015, the Bismarck Bobcats will hit the half-way mark of the 2015-16 campaign Saturday when they travel to the Larson Ice Center to face the Brookings Blizzard.

Saturday marks the fifth meeting of the year between the Bobcats and Blizzard, with each team winning twice; Brookings claimed the most recent go-round by a score of 3-2 in a shootout on December 19 in Bismarck.

Through 30 games, the Blizzard are led by NHL Central Scouting prospect Mikael Hakkarainen’s 27 points (7g, 20a)—including four assists in four appearances against the Cats. Nick Cardelli (3g, 1a) and Nick Ford (1g, 3a) have also each averaged a point per game when facing the Bobcats.

Brookings comes into Saturday with the sixth-ranked penalty kill league-wide at 86.1%—a stat the Bobcats are well aware of: in their two December showdowns, the Cats’ otherwise-red-hot power play went 0-for-5 against the Blizzard; the unit scored at least one power play goal in each of their other six December contests at a blistering 10-for-30 conversion rate.

Leading the Bobcats’ charge through a 6-1-1 December was blueliner Patrik Demel, whose one goal and nine assists in the month propelled him into ninth in the NAHL in scoring among defensemen with 18 points (1g, 17a). Jared Pike (6g, 2a), Alex Strand (4g, 4a), Aaron Herdt (3g, 5a) and Harrison Aide (2g, 6a) all ran at a point-per-game clip in the final 31 days of 2015, as well.

The goaltending tandem of Hunter Shepard and Nick DeSimone also put up big numbers in December: combining for a 1.88 GAA and a .934 SV% while Shepard picked up two shutouts.

Heading into the new year, every point in the Central Division is now at a major premium with the gap between first place and fifth place winnowed down to a mere five points—while both the Bobcats and Blizzard sit in the space between.

Saturday’s 2016 lid-lifter will be broadcast live locally on SuperTalk 1270, KLXX-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 7:00pm.

Season tickets are still on sale for the 2015-16 season at a pro-rated price; if you want to beat the rush of over 40,000 fans for this year, now is the time! Call 222-3300 to reserve your seats today.