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Misfire

Miscues Cost Bobcats at Austin
 
AUSTIN, MN – The Bismarck Bobcats could not overcome their mistakes, as three defensive zone turnovers ended up in the back of the net as the Austin Bruins outlasted the Cats 4-2 Friday at Riverside Arena.
 
Deadlocked in a 2-2 tie late in the third, the Bobcat defense misplayed what would’ve been an icing on the Bruins, allowing Nico Sturm to reach the puck first and feed a wide-open Jacob Kullberg who chipped a low looper over the blocker of Bobcat goalie Alex Bitsakis to put the visitors down 3-2 with 6:55 to go in the game.
 
Austin held the Cats at bay following the go-ahead strike, allowing just one shot on netminder Zach Driscoll over the final six-plus minutes. Kullberg put the game on ice at 4-2 with 1:12 left, popping the puck into the empty net when the Bobcats pulled Bitsakis to bid for the equalizer.
 
It was the Bruins who struck first Friday, as well, when a failed clear by the Bobcats wound up on the stick of defenseman Jake Arroyo, who floated a shot in from 60 feet as Bitsakis could not track the puck around a screen set by Nico Sturm with 12:56 to go in the opening frame.
 
Matt Perry dialed up a response for the Bobcats 3:38 later, stealing the puck not once but twice on the penalty kill and racing up the left wing before poking one under Driscoll’s blocker to knot the game at one through 20 minutes.
 
Following an unsuccessful 5-on-3 power play, Perry pushed the Bobcats ahead 3:42 into the middle frame, looking off a pass to Alex Strand on a 2-on-1 rush before blazing a snap shot over Driscoll’s glove at point-blank range to give the Cats the lead at 2-1.
 
Another failed clear by the visitors proved to be their undoing with 3:49 remaining in the second, as the turnover created a 3-on-1 rush led by Trevor Boyd, who beat Bitsakis inside the right post to force a 2-2 tie after two, setting up Kullberg’s third period heroics.
 
Bitsakis made a season-high 45 saves, but couldn’t get enough help from his offense to avoid his third loss of the year, snapping his personal three-game win streak. Driscoll needed just 19 stops to collect his fourth win.
 
The two rivals will reconvene for one final meeting for the 2014-15 regular season Saturday at 7:05pm.
 
Live coverage of Saturday’s season series finale will begin at 6:35pm 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.
 
Though the 2014-15 season is now under way, there is still time to order season tickets for the year; fans who want to lock in their seats for the entire campaign should call the Bobcat office at 222-3300 today!