ALEXANDRIA, MN – The Bismarck Bobcats picked up their third straight win and seized sole possession of first place in the Central Division with a 2-1 victory over the Alexandria Blizzard at the Runestone Center Friday.
With the game tied at one late in the third period, Bobcat goal-scoring leader Ryan Jacobson one-timed a Brett Bower centering pass through Blizzard goalie Chris Kamal for the eventual game-winner with just 3:06 left in regulation.
“Our line was forechecking really well all night long,” said Jacobson, who had a goal waved off by the referees thanks to a Bobcat penalty in the second, “and Tim [Serratore] made a great play to get the puck to Bower behind the net—and it was tic-tac-toe after that.”
The Bismarck defense and forecheck held the Blizzard in check for the final 186 seconds to secure the Bobcats’ 10th win of the season.
Like the previous two Bobcat road games, Friday’s contest featured a scoreless first period, highlighted by goalies Ryan Massa for the Bobcats and Kamal for the Blizzard; the two keepers combined to stop all 21 shots they faced in the opening frame.
The ‘Cats opened the scoring 2:13 into the second, though, as Bryce Schmitt picked up his second of the year, powering a Casey Kleisinger transition feed through Kamal’s legs for a brief 1-0 Bobcat lead.
Alexandria pulled even just over six minutes later on a 5-on-3 power play when Blizzard defenseman Michael Pieper blasted a shot over Massa in traffic to tie the game at one. Just moments earlier, Pieper had a goal waved off on a crease infraction call.
In net, Massa picked up his fourth win in as many starts, improving to 5-4-1 behind a 31-save performance. The Littleton, Colo., native has only allowed two goals in his last three games.
Kamal, the reigning NAHL Goalie of the Week, made 34 saves but slipped to 4-3-2. Two of his three regulation losses this season have come against the Bobcats.
The win propelled the Bobcats (10-7-5, 25 pts) into sole possession of first place in the Central Division ahead of the idle Owatonna Express (11-5-1, 23 pts).
The ‘Cats continue their three-games-in-three-nights road swing Saturday with the finale of their two-game set with the Blizzard with a 7:00 contest at the Runestone Center.
The game will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270, KLXX-AM, and worldwide at BismarckBobcats.com via B2 Networks. The pre-game show starts at 6:30 PM.
You won\’t want to miss any of the games this season, so order your Season Tickets, Family Packs and Group Nights today by calling the Bobcat Hockey Office at 701-222-3300 or by e-mailing the office for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.