High-Flying Bobcats Scorch Wings 6-2

BISMARCK, ND – The Bismarck Bobcats got a big boost from a crowd of 1,434 and scored four unanswered goals on their way to a 6-2 beatdown of the Aberdeen Wings at the VFW Sports Center Saturday.

With the win, the Bobcats pull ahead of the Wings 13-11 in the Titan Machinery Dakota Cup with one game remaining between the heated rivals on March 10th in Bismarck.

It was the Wings, though, who struck first—with 9:43 left in the opening frame—when Tyler Underhill was able to get a low shot through the teeth of the Bobcat defense that beat Ryan Faragher for a 1-0 lead for the visitors.

Underhill’s goal ignited a wild celebration from the 100-plus Wings fans that made the trip to Bismarck.

The Bobcats responded just 1:17 later on the power play as Donald Olivieri, in just his second game as a Bobcat, caught Wings goalie Hunter Leisner leaning off the short post and fired a bad-angle shot off the keeper’s backside and in.

Olivieri credited the traveling throng of Wings supporters with providing a little motivation.

“They got loud on [Underhill’s] goal and it just energized me, to be honest,” said Olivieri, who has two goals and an assist since being acquired from the Texas Tornado earlier this week. “It was big for us to get back at them and get our fans into it.”

Matt Gates followed up the equalizer with a goal of his own 97 seconds later, deflecting a point shot from Olivieri past Leisner to put that Cats ahead 2-1.

Gates finished the night with a goal and an assist, giving him two goals and seven assists for the three-game weekend.

Dan Zawacki continued the Bobcats’ rally in the second period when, in a fashion similar to Olivieri’s goal, ricocheted a shot from the corner off Leisner’s stick and into the net, posting the home side to a 3-1 lead 4:10 into the middle frame.

“I saw [Nick] Miglio going to the net and Leisner started cheating over on the pass, so I just threw it in front,” noted Zawacki. “My goal wasn’t a bounce-in by design like Donald’s, but sometimes you’ve just got to put it on net—even from the corner.”

Emerson Auvenshine put a cap on the Cats’ four-goal outburst with a power play strike 12:34 into the second, blasting a John Furgele rebound over Leisner for a three-goal lead.

Bismarck’s power play was sharp again, finishing 2-for-3 on the night. The power play unit has now scored eight goals in the last six games.

Aberdeen managed a power play response as Cory Ward popped home an Underhill rebound to cut the lead to 4-2 with 4:56 left in the second, but that was as close as the Wings would get.

Another newcomer, Castan Sommer, put the Cats’ lead back to three goals with 1:18 left in the second, getting three whacks at his own rebound before stuffing it home for a 5-2 spread.

The Bobcats tacked on one more in the third when Sommer picked a floating puck out of mid-air and tapped it along to Sam Dougherty, who popped a low liner between Leisner’s legs for the final 6-2 margin.

Faragher made 27 saves, including 22 in the second and third combined, to secure his 23rd win of 2010-11.

On the other end, Leisner 37 stops but couldn’t hold off the Bobcat onslaught—suffering his 21st loss of the year.

The resurgent Bobcats return to action Friday as they host the Austin Bruins for a 7:15 PM tilt at the VFW Sports Center.

Friday’s contest will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270, KLXX-AM, and worldwide at http://nahl.fasthockey.com/. Pre-game coverage will begin at 6:45 PM CT.

Season tickets are now on sale for the 2010-11 season! Call the Bobcat Hockey office at (701) 222-3300 or email gobobcathockey@aol.com for more information on reserving your seats for the entire season as the Bobcats look to defend the Robertson Cup!