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Overpowered

Second Period Slump Costs Bobcats at Brookings
 
BROOKINGS, SD – For the second straight night, special teams proved decisive as the Bismarck Bobcats allowed three consecutive power play goals in the second period en route to a 4-3 defeat at the hands of the Brookings Blizzard Saturday at Larson Ice Center.
 
Just 17 seconds into the second period, the Bobcats appeared to be in good shape on the road when Evan Giesler tapped in a Cullen Willox rebound to post the visitors to a 3-1 lead.
 
However, in a repeat of Friday’s special teams dominance, Brookings tied the score with consecutive goals on the man advantage: first on a Viktor Lindell redirect with 11:03 to go in the second; followed 2:26 later when Beau Michaud cashed in a defensive zone turnover by the Bobcats.
 
Lindell followed that up with yet another power play strike—this time with 20 seconds left in the period—stuffing the puck inside the right post before Bobcat goalie Hunter Shepard could recover to his left and lifting Brookings to a 4-3 lead.
 
Despite needing to kill three penalties in the third, the Bobcats dominated the final 20 minutes of regulation, holding Brookings to just one shot in the final 18:40 of the frame after what appeared to be an early insurance goal for the home side was waved off when the referees determined Shepard had kept the puck from crossing the goal line despite the goal light signaling.
 
The problem for the Cats came in the form of rookie Blizzard goalie Ryan Kubic, who stopped repeated point-blank and second-chance opportunities created by the Bobcats in the last stanza.
 
Two power plays in the last four minutes the game for the Cats, who entered the night with the league’s highest rated power play unit at 25.3%, could not convert as Kubic held the fort to deliver Brookings consecutive wins for the first time since October 24.
 
Brookings took the first lead of the game on their second shorthanded tally in as many nights when Joe Anderson stripped the puck at his own blue line to create a breakaway up the left wing that the winger converted under Shepard’s blocker with 7:31 to go in the first.
 
On that very same Bobcat power play, Tony German drove a blistering one-timer from a well-placed centering feed by Logan Rivard past a diving Kubic to tie the game at one a mere 32 seconds later.
 
Then Jared Pike pushed the Cats in front, looking off a pass to J.M. Piotrowski before blasting a rising snap shot over Kubic’s blocker just 100 seconds after German’s marker, making it 2-1 heading into the first intermission.
 
Shepard finished with 13 saves, as the Bobcats held Brookings to just eight shots at even strength, but had his personal five-game win streak halted. Kubic moved over .500 for the first time since his second start at 6-5-3 behind 19 stops.
 
With a grueling three-games-in-three-night weekend now behind them, the Bobcats now get six well-earned days off before a 7:15pm rematch with the Blizzard Saturday at the VFW Sports Center.
 
Tickets are on sale now for Brookings’ final regular-season trip to the capital: fans can buy and print tickets online 24 hours a day at BismarckBobcats.com or charge by phone at 222-3300.
 
Live coverage of Saturday’s one-off home contest 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 over half way through, there is still time to order season tickets for the year; fans who want to lock in their seats for the remainder of the campaign should call the Bobcat office at 222-3300 today!