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preview 2017-03-03

Into the Fire

Subway ND Cup to be Decided over Bobcats’ Home Weekend
 
Matchup: Bismarck Bobcats (22-24-2) vs Minot Minotauros (31-14-4)
Games: Friday, March 3, 7:15pm; Saturday, March 4, 7:15pm
Venue: VFW Sports Center, Bismarck, N.D.
Season Series: Minotauros lead Bobcats 5-3-2
All-Time: Bobcats lead Minotauros 41-24-4
Radio: SuperTalk 1270 AM, SuperTalk1270.com and the radioPup smartphone app, 6:45pm both nights
Internet TV: http://www.HockeyTV.com, 6:45pm both nights
 
BISMARCK, ND – Both ends of the spectrum in the Central Division playoff race will be in the spotlight as the winner of the inaugural Subway ND Cup will be determined when the Bismarck Bobcats host the Minot Minotauros for a two-game weekend at the VFW Sports Center, starting Friday.
 
For the Bobcats (22-24-2, 46 pts), three consecutive wins have pulled the defending division champs within four points of the Central’s final playoff spot—controlled by Aberdeen (23-21-4, 50 pts)—and within six of third-place Brookings (24-19-4, 52 pts).
 
Winners of five straight themselves, Minot (31-14-4, 66 pts) has the possibility of locking up their fifth consecutive playoff berth on the weekend with a postseason magic number of six—any combination of points gained by the Minotauros or lost by the fifth-place Cats adding up to six would send the divisional frontrunners into the 2017 Robertson Cup Playoffs.
 
“We’ve more or less been in must-win mode for a couple of weeks, now, so nothing changes for us just because now we’re playing our biggest rival who also happens to be in first place,” assessed Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, whose team has 12 games remaining in the 2016-17 regular season. “We know we need to catch one of two good teams in Aberdeen and Brookings and still hold off another good one in Austin, so we’ve got a lot of work to do over the next six weeks.”
 
The Subway ND Cup situation is a little more clear-cut: though each team has five wins, two of the Cats’ victories at Maysa Arena needed overtime, giving Minot a 12-10 points advantage. Those two Minotauro OTL points mean that the Bobcats need to win both games to claim the trophy in its first year; Minot can seize it with just one win.
 
Goalie Severi Isokangas has been the backbone of the Cats’ latest push toward a playoff berth, winning each of his last three starts with a 1.95 GAA and a .933 SV%. Tobias Fladeby remains the Cats’ top scorer with 47 points (23g, 24a) in 48 games; veterans Jared Resseguie (9g, 21a) and Jordan Fralich (6g. 24a) each crested the 30-point mark with multi-point performances last weekend against Aberdeen.
 
In net for the Minotauros, Austin Park put together a sparkling month of February: compiling a 4-1-0 mark with two shutouts to earn the NAHL’s Goaltender of the Month award on Thursday. Minot boasts a balanced attack with six skaters over the 30-point plateau and three current members of the 40-point club: Derek Frentz (12g, 31a), Alex Adams (21g, 19a) and Tyler Jeanson (16g, 24a).
 
Following Saturday’s contest, the Bobcats will be auctioning off their 20th Anniversary home white jerseys live in the lobby of the VFW Sports Center.
 
Tickets are on sale now for the last two regular season meetings between the Bobcats and Minotauros: fans can buy and print tickets online 24 hours a day at BismarckBobcats.com or charge by phone at 222-3300.
 
Friday’s home showdown will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270 AM, and worldwide on HockeyTV.com–the web television partner of the North American Hockey League–with pregame coverage starting at 6:50pm.
 
Pro-rated season tickets are now on sale for the Bobcats’ landmark platinum anniversary campaign fans can get more information or reserve their seats for all of Season Twenty now by calling 222-3300.

WEEKEND PREVIEW LIVE