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preview 2017-03-31

Now or Never

Bobcats Face Must-Win Weekend in Brookings
 
Matchup: Bismarck Bobcats (27-27-2) vs Brookings Blizzard (27-24-5)
Games: Friday, March 31, 7:05pm; Saturday, April 1, 7:05pm
Venue: Larson Ice Center, Brookings, S.D.
Season Series: Bobcats lead Blizzard 6-3-1
All-Time Series: Bobcats lead Blizzard 34-16-5
Radio: SuperTalk 1270 AM, SuperTalk1270.com and the radioPup smartphone app (Bismarck market), 6:40pm both nights
Internet TV: HockeyTV.com, 6:40pm both nights
 
BROOKINGS, SD – Three points out of a playoff spot with four games left in the regular season, the Bismarck Bobcats will wrap up the road portion of their 2016-17 schedule against the Brookings Blizzard—the team they trail for the Central Division’s final postseason berth—starting Friday at Larson Ice Center.
 
Entering the weekend the Bobcats (27-27-2, 56 pts) are hot on the trail of the Blizzard (27-24-5, 59 pts) for fourth place in the divisional chase and still harbor distant hopes of third place, currently held by Aberdeen (28-23-5, 61 pts), but know that any losses from here on out would be disastrous.
 
“Both games this weekend could be four-point swings between ourselves and Brookings, with the winner gaining two and the loser not getting any points,” evaluated Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, “and even a split puts us in a spot where we’re three [points] out with two [games left] to play and that’s a tough hill to climb; we’re looking at every game as a must-win from here on out.”
 
Larson Ice Center will provide a stout challenge for the Bobcats: since taking a 4-3 win in overtime on November 19, the Cats have gone 0-2-1 in Brookings in the three subsequent visits, giving up 20 combined goals in those contests.
 
The weekend will feature a battle of the NAHL’s top scoring rookies: Bobcat center Matt Barry (20g, 36a) and his Blizzard counterpart Paul Cotter (26g, 30a) both lead their respective teams in scoring are tied for the league lead in points among first-year skaters.
 
According to Sedevie, stopping the Blizzard’s dynamic rookie is of paramount importance.
 
“All I know is this: don’t give 14 [Cotter] the puck. He’s one of the best players I’ve ever seen come through this division and he has the speed and skill to make you pay for every little mistake you make in the neutral zone and defensive zone,” noted Sedevie, whose team has given up six goals and five assists to the Western Michigan commit this season.
 
Another key matchup figures to be in net, where Bobcat goalie Severi Isokangas is likely to clash with Central Division wins-leader Josh Boyko. Isokangas has gone 3-2-1 in six starts against the Blizzard while Boyko is 3-2-2 in eight appearances versus the Cats; no goalie has a GAA below 3.30 (Bismarck’s Will Ulrich) in the offensively tilted season series.
 
Friday’s pivotal clash will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270 AM, and worldwide on HockeyTV.com–the web television partner of the North American Hockey League–with pregame coverage starting at 6:40pm.
 
Season tickets for the 2017-18 campaign are now available for pre-order: fans can get more information or reserve their seats for all of next year now by calling 222-3300 or by texting TICKETS to 701-390-7422.

WEEKEND PREVIEW LIVE