Owatonna Surge Upends Bobcats

BISMARCK, ND – The Bismarck Bobcats watched the Owatonna Express rattle off four straight goals and tack on a pair of empty net strikes as the Express downed the Bobcats 6-2 Friday at the VFW Sports Center.

With the loss, the Bobcats fell out of contention for home ice advantage in the Central Division Playoffs.

“At this point, we have made our own luck,” offered Bobcats head coach Layne Sedevie. “Now we have to fight and scrap the rest of the way and turn things around heading into the playoffs.”

Late in the first period the Bobcats struck first as Grant Mindt created a turnover in the Owatonna zone that caromed to Blake Schammel; the former Owatonna forward finished with a rising backhand that beat goalie Charlie Williams with 4:17 left in the first to boost the Cats to a 1-0 lead.

The Express answered right back 1:31 later on a 2-on-1 as Chris Bournazos fed a 35-foot give-and-go pass to Ben Persian who popped the puck into the Bobcat net to force a 1-1 tie after one.

“[Friday]’s first period is a big example of one of our biggest problems,” added Sedevie. “We got out to a lead and had a chance to extend it quickly but let them back in it a second later. We need to execute better and find ways to build momentum.”

In the second the Express took over, getting a power play goal from John Haeg and an even strength tally from Beau Burgau to carry a big 3-1 lead into the third.

Nick Widing scored Owatonna’s second power play goal of the night to extend the lead to 4-1 less than seven minutes into the third.

Prompted by the light growing dim on the Cats’ chances for home ice in the first round, Sedevie pulled goalie Ryan Faragher with 5:30 left in the game to try and ignite the offense. The move paid off quickly as Tyler Richter struck 20 seconds later to chop the lead to 4-2.

Unfortunately for the Bobcats the gambit of pulling the goalie early has one big risk—one that the Express were able to exploit twice as Marian Fiala and Jake Youso each tallied empty-net goals to push Owatonna to the final 6-2 margin.

Williams was the standout for Owatonna, turning aside 49 of 50 shots.

Faragher was denied his 30th win of 2010-11 for the fourth straight game, stopping 27 of 31 shots in defeat.

The Bobcats and Express will close out their season series with a 7:15 PM rematch at the VFW Sports Center.

Saturday’s contest will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270, KLXX-AM, and worldwide at http://nahl.fasthockey.com/. Pre-game coverage will begin at 6:45 PM CT.

Season tickets are now on sale for the 2011-12 season! Call the Bobcat Hockey office at (701) 222-3300 or email gobobcathockey@aol.com for more information on reserving your seats for next season!