Bobcat Rally Runs out of Time
BLAINE, MN – The Bismarck Bobcats nearly dug their way out of a three-goal hole, but could not overcome a slow start to their season opener, falling to the Soo Eagles 3-2 Wednesday at Schwan Super Rink at the Easton NAHL Showcase.
Trailing 2-0 after two, the Bobcats fell even further behind with 12:20 to go in the third when the rebound of a Kyle Loridon shot hopped off the stick of Bobcat captain Filip Starzynski and straight to Eagles forward Chase Matson, who popped it back in before goalie Aaron Nelson could recover to push Soo’s lead to 3-0.
Adding insult to injury, over 20 seconds ran off the clock following the goal, shortening the Cats’ window for a comeback.
Nevertheless, the Cats sparked a rally just over four minutes later on the power play as Brendan Harris swung a Nate Repensky entry pass across the ice to Stanislav Dzakhov, who tallied his first of the year by burying a one-timer before Soo netminder Paige Skoog could make it back to his left.
It was their first conversion on the man advantage in five tries on the night.
“I think once the ‘PP’ settled in and guys got a little more comfortable, things picked up,” assessed Repensky, who also quarterbacked the power play’s late-season resurgence in 2012-13. The biggest thing was getting into the zone and actually getting set up and getting into the gameplan.”
With 4:38 left, the Bobcats pulled within one at 3-2 on another power play strike as Evan Giesler redirected a Repensky shot past Skoog on a 4-on-3 advantage.
The game time lost following Matson’s goal ended up looming large for the Bobcats, who were awarded a 5-on-3 with six seconds left in the game, but couldn’t get the puck into a shooting lane until after the clock ran out.
Soo built their early lead with back-to-back strikes in a five-minute window late in the first period, with both Jacob McDowell—a former Bobcat—and A.J. Jarosz converting second-chance opportunities to boost the defending regular season North Division champions to a 2-0 edge that would last through the second intermission.
Wednesday marks the first time the Bobcats have lost a season opener since 2009, a 4-3 overtime loss to Team USA.
Nelson made 21 stops but took the loss while Skoog picked up the win behind 28 saves.
The Bobcats continue their Showcase schedule Thursday with an 8:15 PM grudge match against the defending Robertson Cup champion Amarillo Bulls. A 2-1 overtime loss to the Bulls at the 2013 Robertson Cup eventually knocked the Cats out of the national tournament.
Thursday’s heavyweight bout will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270, KLXX-AM, and worldwide on the internet television partner of the North American Hockey League, NAHL.FASTHockey.com. Pregame coverage will get under way at 7:45 PM.
Season tickets for the 2013-14 season are now on sale—and going fast! Reserve your seats for the new season, including the brand new Dasher Bar, by calling the Bobcat Hockey office at 222-3300.