Divisional Implications Loom for Bobcats’ and Minotauros’ Home-and-Home
Matchups: Bismarck Bobcats (17-12-1, T-1st Central) vs Minot Minotauros (16-14-3, T-1st Central)
Games: Friday, January 8, 7:35pm; Saturday, January 9, 7:15pm
Venues: Maysa Arena, Minot, N.D.; VFW Sports Center, Bismarck, N.D.
Season Series: Bobcats lead Minotauros 4-3-0
All-Time: Bobcats lead Minotauros 35-15-4
Radio: SuperTalk 1270 AM, SuperTalk1270.com and the radioPup smartphone app, 7:05pm Friday; 6:45pm Saturday
Internet TV: http://NAHL.FASTHockey.com, 7:05pm Friday; 6:45pm Saturday
MINOT, ND – Amid a three-way log jam for the top spot in the Central Division coming into the weekend, the Bismarck Bobcats will face down the archrival Minot Minotauros—one of the teams with which they share the division lead—for a home-and-home series starting Friday at Maysa Arena.
Along with the Austin Bruins, who play the Minnesota Wilderness Thursday, the Bobcats and Minotauros sit atop the NAHL’s most tightly packed division.
“I’ve never seen anything like [the current Central Division standings] before; right now there’s only nine points between first place and dead last,” marveled Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, whose own team was out of playoff position in fifth place on December 29. “But that means that there is no margin for error from here on out. Every game, every period, every shift will have an impact on who makes the playoffs in three months.”
Leading the way offensively for the Minotauros of late has been center Derek Frentz, who has five goals—three at the expense of the Bobcats—and three assists over the past 10 games; Johnny Walker continues to pace Minot in overall offense, posting a Central Division-best 30 points (15g, 15a) in 30 appearances.
Goalies Lucas Murray and Jon Flakne have posted steady numbers all year for Minot, combining for a 2.59 GAA and an .899 SV% in starting all but one of the Minotauros’ contests in 2015-16.
At 8-1-1 in their last ten contests, the Bobcats have received offensive contributions from all corners of their roster, with seven players chipping in eight or more points since the start of December—led by 11 points from Harrison Aide (2g, 9a) and 10 points each from Alex Strand (5g, 5a) and Patrik Demel (1g, 9a). Tobias Fladeby added four goals and two assists in four appearances in that time span, as well.
In net, second-year Bobcat Hunter Shepard has won two straight starts and has been buoyed by the emergence of newcomer Nick DeSimone, who has gone 1-0-1 in two appearances since arriving in a trade from Johnstown while compiling a 1.92 GAA and a .940 SV% in a Bobcat uniform.
Following Friday’s game, the series will shift back to the VFW Sports Center for a 7:15pm Saturday rematch.
Tickets are now on sale for Saturday night’s tilt: fans can buy and print tickets 24 hours a day at BismarckBobcats, by clicking “Shop Now” on the team Facebook page or charge-by-phone at 222-3300.
Friday’s chapter in the Battle of Highway 83will be broadcast live 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—with pregame coverage starting at 7:05pm.
Season tickets are still on sale for the 2015-16 season at a pro-rated price; if you want to beat the rush of over 40,000 fans for this year, now is the time! Call 222-3300 to reserve your seats today.