Nobody’s Perfect

BISMARCK, ND – The Bismarck Bobcats saw their franchise record home win streak go by the boards Friday as a furious third period rally came up short as the first place Bobcats fell 4-2 to the visiting Alexandria Blizzard at the VFW Sports Center.

Alexandria started hot and didn’t look back, seizing a 1-0 lead 8:22 into the game as a defensive zone turnover by the Bobcats led to a wide-open net for Reid Sturos to slam the puck into, quieting a big Friday crowd at the VFW.

Just 1:56 later, the Blizzard doubled their lead to 2-0 as Bobcats goalie Aaron Nelson lost track of the rebound off of an Aidan Cavallini shot. Nelson’s defense could not track the loose puck either, and Justin Moody swooped in to slam it in for the visiting Blizzard.

Frank DeAugustine gave the Bobcats life with 6:38 to go in the second, converting a give-and-go on the rush with Adam Knochenmus for his first goal since returning Saturday from a concussion suffered in mid-December in Austin to cut the lead to 2-1.

That boost lasted a mere 43 seconds as a turnover off a defensive zone faceoff by the Bobcats was collected by Seth Ronsberg and whipped past Nelson to push it back to a two-goal game at 3-1.

Ronsberg followed up his insurance tally with a backbreaker, flinging a Moody rebound off Nelson’s shoulder and in with 56 seconds left in the second to boost the Blizzard to a 4-1 edge, their biggest lead over the Bobcats since Alexandria’s 6-1 win in Game One of the 2011 Central Division Semifinals on last April 1.

Tyler Richter attempted to spark a Bobcat rally in the third, banging a Castan Sommer rebound past Blizzard netminder Jacob Meyers with 14:32 left in the game to slice Alexandria’s lead to 4-2.

“We played much better in the third, but it’s a shame our guys didn’t show up through the first 40 minutes,” lamented Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie. “Hopefully it’s a lesson well-learned that we can’t just flip the switch every night.”

Alexandria deployed an aggressive trap that stymied the Bobcats, but the biggest blow the Cats suffered were missed opportunities as Nick Miglio, playing with a broken finger, missed the net on a short breakaway and Donald Olivieri rang the post twice in the game’s final five minutes to seal the home side’s fate at 4-2.

The loss marks the Bobcats’ first home defeat since being shut out 3-0 by the Austin Bruins on October 15.

Nelson took the loss to slip to 11-3-1 on the year on 21 saves. Tommy Burke relieved Nelson in the third, stopping all eight shots he faced.

Meyers pulled within one win of Burke for second in the NAHL at 23 on 31 saves.

The Bobcats will wrap up the weekend—and a grueling eight-games-in-15-nights stretch—when the Bruins come calling for a 7:15 PM Saturday date at the VFW Sports Center.

Saturday’s weekend 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.

Season tickets are still available for the second half of the 2011-12 season—and going fast! Call the Bobcat Hockey office at (701) 222-3300 or email gobobcathockey@aol.com for more information on reserving a pro-rated package for the rest of the season!