Philadelphia Freedom

FRISCO, TX – An emergency switch to forward for the weekend triggered an offensive surge for Bismarck Bobcats defenseman Donald Olivieri, with the Philadelphia native netting three goals and one assist. That outburst led to Olivieri being named number two star of the week for the NAHL’s Combat Hockey Three Stars of the Week.

It is the fourth time this year a Bobcat has earned the weekly hardware, but the first instance since Nick Miglio won #2 Star on October 11.

“I’m pretty excited,” admitted Olivieri, who was pressed into service at forward with Dan Zawacki out due to illness Saturday and Frank DeAugustine and Mike Dockry still battling injury, “I’ve been working hard to see my name on a league headline for a long time. Even bigger than that, though, was getting three wins and getting back in charge of the division, especially as good as Alexandria has been.”

The Cats’ three-game sweep of the Austin Bruins and Alexandria Blizzard, who entered this past weekend as the two closest teams in the Central Division standings, matched their season high for a divisional lead at 15 points while snapping Alexandria’s league-best win streak at 11 games with Sunday’s 4-3 win at the Runestone Center.

Olivieri had Sunday’s game-winner.

“Donald handles and shoots the puck as good as any defenseman I have seen at this level,” said Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie. “When we needed a big goal, he always seems to set it up or score it.”

“He also has worked very hard on playing better defensive hockey and has improved in that area as well to become a very good all-around defenseman in this league.”

Olivieri and his Bobcats teammates won’t have long to admire the award or last weekend’s success, as they have a quick turnaround for a Wednesday rematch at the VFW Sports Center against the second-place Blizzard.

“The wins are behind us, and we can’t feel too good about them now,” explained Olivieri, “if we relax or come into Wednesday night with big heads, we know that Alexandria can beat us, just like they did two weekends ago [a 6-4 loss in Alexandria].”

Wednesday’s contest, the fourth in a brutal stretch of eight games in 15 nights for the Bobcats, is scheduled for a 7:15 PM puck drop and will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270, KLXX-AM, and worldwide on the official internet television partner of the NAHL, FASTHockey, at http://nahl.fasthockey.com. Pregame coverage gets under way at 6:45.

Notes: • Bobcats defenseman Rory Vesel returned Friday from a jaw injury after being sidelined for just over two months and played all three games in Austin and Alexandria, submitting a +1 rating on the weekend and blocking ten shots. • The league also announced Monday that Bobcats director of broadcasting Paul Teeple has been selected to be the lead broadcaster for February’s Top Prospects Tournament in Troy, Mich. The games will be available for viewing on FASTHockey.

Season tickets are still available for the second half of the 2011-12 season—and going fast! Call the Bobcat Hockey office at (701) 222-3300 or email gobobcathockey@aol.com for more information on reserving a pro-rated package for the rest of the season!