BISMARCK, ND – The Bismarck Bobcats won their first Home Opener in three years as they blanketed the Aberdeen Wings for a 3-1 victory Friday at the VFW Sports Center.
“I was pleased with our effort,” noted Bobcats head coach Layne Sedevie, “we had a gameplan coming in and our guys stuck to it for nearly 60 minutes and picked up a nice win.”
Following a scoreless first period, Aberdeen appeared to pull ahead in a rollercoaster second on a defensive zone steal converted to a score by Wings forward Loren French with 11:55 left in the middle frame—but the would-be go-ahead marker was wiped out by a too many men on the ice penalty to the Wings, so the game stayed scoreless.
5:08 later, on an extended 4-on-4, Tyler Richter pushed the Cats in front on a 2-on-2 rush: gaining separation from the Aberdeen defense on a lead pass from Shane Omdahl and crushing a low liner off goaltender Hunter Leisner and into the net for a 1-0 Bobcat lead.
Rookie Patrick Moore extended the lead to 2-0, pinpointing a top-shelf wrist shot over Leisner’s blocker with 39 seconds left as the Coors Light Opening Night crowd of 1,022 roared its approval.
“What a great pass from Omdahl,” beamed Moore, who hails from Grand Rapids, Minn., “he found me wide open and, when any of us get that kind of time and space, those are the goals that we have to convert.”
Moore collected his second tally of the night on the power play with 5:26 left in the third, pinballing a shot in traffic past Leisner for a 3-0 Bobcat cushion.
Omdahl, Moore’s fellow rookie, assisted on all three Bobcat goals.
Bobcat netminder Tommy Burke had his shutout spoiled with one second left in regulation as Paul Prescott finished a Wings rush for a 3-1 final margin.
“A big part of our success tonight was on the penalty kill,” credited Burke, who secured his second win of the young season. “The forwards were really active blocking shots, the defense cleared traffic well in front of me and whenever we had a defensive zone faceoff on the ‘PK,’ our centers were getting big wins.”
The penalty kill negated all five Aberdeen power plays; the Wings entered the game with a 33.3% power play efficiency—good for second league-wide.
Burke finished with 19 saves for the victory.
Leisner made numerous highlight-reel saves on his way to 39 stops, but it wasn’t enough for the second-year goalie to avoid dropping to 2-2-0 on the year.
“That game could’ve been a lot worse, I think, but Hunter was fantastic between the pipes for us,” added Wings assistant coach and all-time Bobcats leading scorer Garrett Roth.
The Bobcats turn right around and face another big-time rival Saturday as the Alexandria Blizzard come to town for a 7:15 PM faceoff at the VFW Sports Center.
Saturday’s playoff rematch will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270, KLXX-AM, and worldwide on the official internet television partner of the NAHL, FASTHockey, at http://nahl.fasthockey.com. Pregame coverage gets under way at 6:45.
Season tickets are now on sale for the 2011-12 season—and going fast! Call the Bobcat Hockey office at (701) 222-3300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on reserving your seats for the upcoming season!
2011 CENTRAL DIVISION CHAMPIONS