Bobcats Hold off Minotauros to Open Three-in-Three
BISMARCK, ND – Locked in a tight contest late in the first period, the Bismarck Bobcats rattled off three straight even-strength goals then withstood a comeback attempt to best the Minot Minotauros in game eight of the Subway ND Cup Thursday at the VFW Sports Center.
With the game level 1-1, the Bobcats took the lead for good with 4:39 left in the opening frame when center Mitch Walinski cashed in a 2-on-1 with Tobias Fladeby, grabbing a Fladeby rebound off the pads of Minot netminder Lucas Murray and tapping it over the goal line for his second goal of the game and a 2-1 score.
Walinski followed up his second goal with a pretty assist 6:52 into the second on a 3-on-2 rush, threading a pass through both defenders to find Fladeby alone on the back door, which the Norwegian winger finished with a rising wrist shot to extend the Cats’ advantage to 3-1.
Just 43 seconds later, Cooper Haar made it 4-1 in favor of the home side, harnessing a bit of good fortune when his back-door pass intended for Matej Murin skidded through a tangle of bodies and inside the right post—ending Murray’s night with 13 saves and on the hook for the decision.
Minot pulled within two at 4-2 with 43 seconds left in the middle stanza on Derek Frentz’s eighth goal of the year when the 2016 all-star zipped a low, bad-angle shot that careened in off the left skate of newly acquired Bobcat goalie Severi Isokangas.
Tempers flared in a testy third but neither side was able to capitalize on their power plays; the Minotauros did make it a one-goal game at 4-3 with 3:54 left in regulation, however, as second-year center Tyler Jeanson pinballed a close range shot in for his 11th strike of the season.
As the score tightened late, so too did the Bobcat defense—not allowing another shot after Jeanson’s marker and hemming the Minotauros in on the wrong side of the red line over the final two minutes of the game to preserve the 4-3 victory.
It was the Bobcats who struck first Thursday, as well, when Walinski registered a power play for the third straight contest to make it 1-0, lining in a Haar rebound 5:38 into the night.
Center Austin Dollimer evened the score at one at the 7:13 mark of the first, pushing a Reid Stefanson rebound through a small gap between Isokangas’ pads.
Isokangas, acquired Thursday from Waterloo of the USHL, stopped 29 of 32 shots in his Bobcat debut. Austin Park, who replaced Murray—the eventual losing backstop—after Haar’s goal, made 14 saves but did not get a chance to factor into the decision.
The three-in-three series continues Friday at the VFW Sports Center with a 7:15pm rubber match between the two heated rivals.
Tickets are now on sale for the middle leg of the week: fans can buy and print tickets online 24 hours a day at BismarckBobcats.com or charge by phone at 222-3300.
Friday’s installment of the Subway ND Cup 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 6:45pm.
Pro-rated season tickets are now on sale for the Bobcats’ landmark platinum anniversary campaign fans can get more information or reserve their seats for all of Season Twenty now by calling 222-3300.