Bitsakis Stops 43 as Bobcats Tip Minotauros in Shootout
MINOT, ND — Alex Bitsakis turned aside all 43 shots he faced in regulation and overtime, then he added three more stops in the shootout to deliver the Bismarck Bobcats a 1-0 road win over the Minot Minotauros at Maysa Arena.
The Bobcat goalie set the defensive tone early for the visitors, denying a close-range attempt from Minot newcomer Mitch Snyder just 62 seconds into the game.
In the first period alone, the Montreal, Quebec, native accounted for 16 saves–his busiest frame of the night.
Through the course of the next two frames, Bitsakis and his Minotauro counterpart Atte Tolvanen combined for 35 saves to quiet two of the Central Division’s highest-flying offenses, eventually sending the game to bonus hockey.
Overtime saw upward of a minute of rare 3-on-3 hockey on back-to-back penalties, but Bitsakis and Tolvanen rebuffed all attempts to bring up a shootout.
Co-captains Cullen Willox and Evan Giesler each scored on their attempts in the first three rounds, while Bitsakis turned away Nick Monfils, Snyder and John Snodgrass. Colton Kramer kept the game alive in the fourth round but Bobcat rookie Logan Rivard beat Tolvanen high in the fifth round to clinch it for the Cats.
Rivard is now 4-for-4 on shootout attempts this season.
For Bitsakis, Saturday marks the veteran’s third shutout of the season and first since November 7. Tolvanen finished with 20 stops and the hard-luck loss.
Up next, the Bobcats head out on their second-to-last road weekend of the year, starting Friday at Larson Ice Center against the Brookings Blizzard then wrapping up Saturday in Aberdeen against the Wings at Odde Ice Center.
Live coverage of Friday’s weekend opener will begin at 6:45pm 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.
Though the 2014-15 season is over half way through, there is still time to order season tickets for the year; fans who want to lock in their seats for the remainder of the campaign should call the Bobcat office at 222-3300 today!