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One Shy

Bobcats Tipped in Overtime
 
BISMARCK, ND – Though they were able to force overtime for the first in 2014-15, the Bismarck Bobcats fell 5-4 Saturday to the Aberdeen Wings at the VFW Sports Center.
 
Leading 2-1 after two periods, the Bobcats fell into a tie game just 21 seconds into the third when Wings captain               Kyle Haak got a mid-slot redirect of a Michael Heidkamp point shot that Bobcat goalie Alex Bitsakis couldn’t recover to.
 
Aberdeen claimed their first lead at 3-2 a mere 38 ticks later when forward Collin Hughes snapped a short shot over Bitsakis’ blocker to stun the crowd of 1,450.
 
The Bobcats did not back down, however: Alex Strand struck on the power play with 15:45 to go in the third, ripping a rising shot off Aberdeen netminder Andrew Shortridge and in on the power play to tie the game at three.
 
Another momentum swing tilted the score in the Wings’ favor at 4-3 with 5:40 remaining as veteran winger Bjorn Sigurdarson turned a Bobcat turnover into a bad-angle goal.
 
That lead would last all of 19 seconds as Bobcat captain Evan Giesler tallied his second of the night on an abbreviated forecheck on a rising wrister through traffic that fooled Shortridge stick side, knotting the game right back up 4-4.
 
A Wings power play granted with less than a minute left in the frame did not yield a result in regulation, but it did produce the game-winner 58 seconds into bonus hockey as blueliner Tanner Okeson lofted a long shot through traffic that squeezed under Bitsakis’ glove to give Aberdeen the game by a final of 5-4.
 
Following a scoreless first, the Bobcats opened the scoring 5:32 into the second on the penalty kill when defenseman Nick Wallace stole the puck and rushed up the ice, feeding Matt Perry for a close-range redirect for the Cats’ league-best sixth shorthanded goal of the year.
 
Giesler boosted the advantage to 2-0 by cashing in a 3-on-1 feed from Strand with 4:01 left in the middle frame, but Aberdeen roared right back 80 seconds later on a Drew Doyon deflection of a Matt Sherman slap shot to make it 2-1 after two.
 
“It all comes down to the fact that our team needs to do a better job in front of our own net,” assessed Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie. “Aberdeen gets three goals from guys camped out in front of our goalie for screens and deflections and that just can’t happen.”
 
Despite 33 saves, Bitsakis suffered his fifth loss of the year. Shortridge secured the win for the Wings behind 34 stops.
 
With Saturday’s result, the Cats’ lead in the Titan Machinery Dakota Cup is cut to three points at 5-2.
 
The Cats’ attention now turns to a home-and-home series against the rival Minot Minotauros starting Friday at the VFW Sports Center at 7:15pm.
 
Tickets for Friday’s tilt are now on sale: fans can buy and print their tickets 24 hours a day at BismarckBobcats.com or charge by phone at 222-3300.
 
Live coverage of the home-and-home opener will begin at 6:45pm 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!