Bobcats Stay in State to Close Regular Season
BISMARCK, ND – The Bismarck Bobcats will wrap up the 2012-13 regular season when they tangle with the intrastate rival Minot Minotauros in a home-and-home series, starting Friday at the VFW Sports Center.
Both sides enter the weekend having wrapped up not only their playoff berths, but also their postseason seedings: the Bobcats will finish second place in the Central Division and face Brookings in the first round; Minot, who will be fourth, is set to take on Austin in their first-ever playoff appearance.
Though neither team can move up or down in the Central standings between now and the end of the season, the Bobcat coaching staff feels there’s plenty to play for.
“It doesn’t really matter what is or isn’t on the line; even if it were a game of checkers, things get pretty intense when Bismarck takes on Minot in something,” quipped Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, a native of Bismarck. “We haven’t clinched the season series yet, either, so we are looking to finish strong against the Tauros here this weekend.”
Minot comes to town having snapped a season-long six-game losing streak with a convincing 5-2 home win over Brookings to eliminate the red-hot Aberdeen Wings from playoff contention and lock in the last spot on the division’s playoff dance card.
Though starting goalie Tyler Parks has set the pace in net for the Minotauros, piling up 18 wins with a 2.79 GAA and a .917 SV%, the re-emergence of Ryan Ruck between the pipes has helped Minot make plans for April hockey: the Californian netminder made 35 saves in Saturday’s win at Maysa Arena for the Tauros. Previously, Ruck shut out the Cats in Minot on March 1.
There will be two focuses on the season’s final weekend for the Bobcats: special teams and staying healthy.
On the special teams front, the Bobcats’ power play has improved dramatically in the month of March, posting a 12-for-42 efficiency of 28.6%—well above their season average of 15.3%.
One major factor in the power play’s resurgence has been the unit of Matt Anders, Filip Starzynski, Evan Giesler, Nate Repensky and Matt Pohlkamp, which has accounted for 10 of the team’s 12 strikes on the man advantage this month.
“Our biggest thing is getting pucks to the net and letting big bodies like Matt [Anders] and Evan create traffic and go for rebounds,” explained Pohlkamp, who has three power play tallies this month. “We’ve got some momentum and chemistry right now and we’re trying to improve on that coming up against Minot.”
Health-wise, the Bobcats are trying to overcome a late-season injury bug that claimed the season of blueliner Sam Wolfe and has recently sidelined captain Adam Knochenmus, defenseman Chris Diver and forward Seth Blair. Veteran front-liner Shane Omdahl returned to the lineup last weekend in Austin after missing over a month to injury.
The Bobcats and Tauros open their season-ending series Friday at 7:15 PM at the VFW Sports Center before traveling north for Saturday’s season finale at 7:35 PM at Maysa Arena.
Tickets for Friday’s game—the final home game of the 2012-13 regular season—are on sale right now by calling the box office at 222-3300 or buying and printing tickets online at www.BismarckBobcats.com.
Friday’s home finale 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 PM.
Bobcat fans can get 2013 Playoff Priority if they reserve 2013-14 season tickets today! Call the Bobcat Hockey office at (701) 222-3300 to reserve your seats for another year Championship Entertainment and get first crack at seats in the 2013 Robertson Cup Playoffs.