Power Play Paces Season-High Blowout
BISMARCK, ND – The Bismarck Bobcats notched season highs in goals and power play goals Thursday at the VFW Sports Center as they raced past the Minot Minotauros 7-2 in a make-up game for a February contest that was postponed due to hazardous travel conditions.
“It was one of our toughest, most complete efforts our guys have had all year,” hailed Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, whose squad piled up four power play tallies in 10 opportunities. “Guys were working hard, making hits and doing what it took to get to the gritty areas of the ice. These are the things you have to do to win at this level and our guys are starting to figure it out at the right time.”
An early power play strike boosted the Cats to a fast 1-0 lead as Evan Giesler swiped home a rebound off a Nate Repensky shot just 3:58 into the game.
Matt Anders doubled the home side’s advantage to 2-0 with 8:11 left in the first, pulling a Repensky rebound off the pads of Minot netminder Tyler Parks and lobbing it over the second-year stopper for his 10th goal of the season a mere seven seconds into the Bobcats’ second power play of the night.
Giesler followed up with his second of the night with 5:33 to go in the opening frame, once again chipping in a Repensky rebound on a 4-on-4 for his fifth goal in six games and a 3-0 Bobcat cushion through 20 minutes.
“Nate was doing a great job on the power play and off face-offs to get the puck through traffic,” noted Giesler, who was recently promoted to the top power play unit thanks to a foot injury to Seth Blair. “We knew that for our offense to work we had to get to the front of the net and battle through contact to make the tough plays. We did that tonight and the offense and the power play picked up.”
Minot got on the board 2:35 into the middle frame with a power play tally of their own as a Matt Audette shot deflected off a Bobcat defender and in over goalie Aaron Nelson to cut it to a 3-1 game.
Repensky answered back for a 4-1 advantage nearly 10 minutes later, picking up a power play goal of his own to go with three assists, rifling a rising shot through a Joe Giordano screen and over Parks’ glove for his fourth point of the night and ninth in four contests.
“Our goal for every game is to get 40 shots on net,” explained Repensky, who also registered a four-point night at Brookings on March 2, “so the most important thing was to get the puck through traffic and make [Parks] make a play on it. On the goal, Joe set a nice screen that dragged him and the defenseman in front of Parks; it may have bounced off one of their guys in front but ‘Gio’ set it up by getting to the cage.”
That goal of 40 shots was surpassed by the Bobcats by the second intermission—with 44 attempts on net through 40 minutes—en route to peppering Minot goaltending with 56 total shots on the night.
Stanislav Dzakhov kept the offense rolling, giving the game its first 5-on-5 strike with 1:37 to go in the middle frame when the Russian forward redirected a Jeremy O’Keefe shot to Parks’ right as he slid left for a 5-1 score after two.
That marker ended the night for Parks, who wound up taking the loss with 39 saves in 38:23 of ice time; Ryan Ruck relieved the 6’6” keeper for the final 21-plus minutes of the game.
Another 5-on-5 goal came for the Bobcats with 10:12 to go in the game as Chris Diver cashed in a 3-on-2 rush for the Bobcats by looking off Ruck with a fake pass to Giordano before blazing a rising wrister into the top left corner of the net to stretch the advantage to 6-1.
Belorussian forward Denis Dalidovich responded for the Tauros to cut it to a 6-2 affair 1:06 after Diver’s score, converting a 2-on-1 transition opportunity with Jake McCann.
Following two late penalties by the Minotauros, Patrick Moore tapped home a Giordano rebound with 10 seconds left in the game, giving the Cats their fourth power play goal of the night and the final 7-2 count.
“Things got a little chippy toward the end but our guys did a great job of staying disciplined,” illustrated Sedevie, whose team only took three penalties all night compared to 11 for Minot, “and that’s to their credit because what’s the point in a four and five-goal game? The goal for the night was two points and we got that without getting into anything silly.”
All told, seven Bobcats racked up multi-point nights Thursday: Repensky (4), Giordano (3), Giesler (2), Adam Knochenmus (2), Diver (2), O’Keefe (2) and Filip Starzynski (2).
Nelson needed just 19 saves to collect his 21st victory of the season; Ruck stopped 10 of 12 attempts but did not factor into the decision.
With the win, the Bobcats extended their lead for second place to a season-high eight points over idle Brookings while reducing their magic number—the combined points gained by the Bobcats and lost by the Blizzard in the standings—to five for home ice advantage in the opening round of the 2013 Robertson Cup Playoffs.
The Bobcats now turn around and host the red-hot Aberdeen Wings for two games Friday and Saturday; Aberdeen has picked up 10 wins in their last 14 games to bounce back from a two-month, 18-game winless streak.
Saturday’s contest between the Bobcats and Wings will be the Cats’ fourth annual St. Baldrick’s Night, where Bobcat Hockey partners with Basin Electric Power Company and the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to raise money to fight childhood cancer.
For the March 16 game, the Bobcats will don special edition green St. Baldrick’s jerseys that will be auctioned off after the game. Seven members of the Bobcat organization will also have their heads shaved to help raise awareness for childhood cancer: Knochenmus, O’Keefe, Shane Omdahl, Diver, Giesler, Sedevie and director of broadcasting Paul Teeple. Knochenmus also plans to donate his hair to charity following the event.
Over the last two seasons, the Bobcats have helped raise nearly $20,000 in the fight against childhood cancer.
Tickets for the final two installments of the Titan Machinery Dakota Cup are on sale right now by calling the box office at 222-3300 or buying and printing tickets online at www.BismarckBobcats.com.
Friday’s inter-Dakota throwdown 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 PM.
Bobcat fans can get 2013 Playoff Priority if they reserve 2013-14 season tickets today! Call the Bobcat Hockey office at (701) 222-3300 to reserve your seats for another year Championship Entertainment and get first crack at seats in the 2013 Robertson Cup Playoffs.