Landslide Brought Me Down

Second Period Skid Clips Bobcats in Game One
 
MINOT, ND – Leading deep into the second period, the Bismarck Bobcats surrendered three goals in a span of 3:42 and could not recover, falling 4-1 to the Minot Minotauros in Game One of the Central Division Semifinals at Maysa Arena.
 
The Cats trail the best-of-five-game series 1-0.
 
It was the Bobcats who struck first Friday just 6:09 into the game as a dump-in by Jared Pike took an unexpected hop off the glass, catching Minot goalie Atte Tolvanen off balance and bouncing into the net as Tolvanen anticipated it would skid harmlessly into the corner.
 
Bobcat goalie Alex Bitsakis weathered a barrage of 12 Minot shots after Pike’s go-ahead tally against just four shots by his skaters, but the levee broke for the Montreal, Quebec, native with 3:52 left as Nick Monfils got free on a breakaway. Bitsakis made the initial denial of Monfils but his momentum carried him and the puck backward into the net to tie the game at one.
 
Minot wasted no time following up, as 10 seconds later Christian Mohs caught the Bobcat defense in a state of miscommunication, breaking loose to rip one past Bitsakis’ glove to push the home side ahead 2-1.
 
Monfils then kept the surge going with just 10 ticks left in the second, cashing in a Bobcat turnover below the face-off dots to push the score to 3-1 heading into the second intermission.
 
The dagger came with 12:14 left in regulation, as Monfils struck again in transition to cap off the Tauros’ surge and put the Cats in big trouble with a 4-1 deficit.
 
Try as they might to bounce back, the Bobcats could only muster three shots on Tolvanen in the final twelve minutes of the third—falling 4-1.
 
Bitsakis turned in 28 saves but could not avoid the loss in his NAHL playoff debut; Tolvanen needed just 19 stops for his first career playoff win.
 
Friday’s defeat snaps the Cats’ eight-game win streak in the opening round of the playoffs, dating back to 2012 against Aberdeen, and marks the first time they’ve trailed a Divisional Semifinal since falling behind 1-0 to Alexandria in 2011.
 
Thanks to the rare rotating format of the series, which capitalizes on the teams’ proximity, Game Two will be Saturday at the VFW Sports Center at 7:15pm.
 
Tickets are now on sale for the Cats’ first home game of the 2015 Robertson Cup Playoffs: fans can buy and print 24 hours a day at BismarckBobcats.com or charge by phone at 222-3300. The Bobcat box office will open at 9:00am Saturday to accommodate anyone hoping to buy in person.
 
Live coverage of Saturday’s rematch will start 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.