Tempers Flare as Bobcats Hold off Wings
BISMARCK, ND – Emotions boiled over in the last minute of regulation as the Bismarck Bobcats fended off a late rally to top the Aberdeen Wings 3-1 Wednesday at the VFW Sports Center.
A strong first period effort by the Bobcats culminated in a go-ahead goal from co-captain Cole Souto, who took a cross-ice pass from Harrison Aide, juked Wings keeper Peter Thome to the right and tucked a forehand home with 5:14 remaining in the frame.
Just 3:14 later, Aide set up another pretty goal—this time on the power play—threading a cross-ice to Tobias Fladeby who fired a rising one-timer from just above the goal line that beat Thome inside the right post to make it 2-0 Cats after one.
Neither team could break through in the second period, or in the first 18 minutes of the third, for that matter.
Aberdeen broke up the shutout bid for Bobcat goalie Hunter Shepard with 1:47 to go in the game with Thome pulled for the extra attacker as Matt Pulver made a point-blank redirect of a Ryan Cook slap shot to bring the score to 2-1.
Winger Travis Wood snuffed out the Wings’ comeback hopes with 28 seconds left, launching a half-ice shot into the empty net for the final 3-1 count.
As the puck hit the net, a late hit from Aberdeen’s Tucker DeYoung on Wood touched off a fracas beside the Wings bench that saw the two teams combine for 57 penalty minutes and four ejections.
The Wings managed four more shots after Wood’s long-range tally but Shepard turned them all aside to nail down the victory.
In all, Shepard stopped 25 of 26 to pick up his 21st win of the year; Thome made 17 saves but couldn’t avoid the loss.
With the rest of the division idle Wednesday, the Bobcats (22-13-1, 45 pts) jumped into sole possession of first place ahead of Austin (21-16-1, 43 pts) and Minot (20-16-3, 43 pts). It is the first time the Cats have been alone atop the Central Division since February of 2014.
Now the Bobcats turn their attention to a two-game home series against the Brookings Blizzard, starting Friday at 7:15pm at the VFW Sports Center.
Tickets are now on sale for Friday’s divisional dustup: fans can buy and print tickets 24 hours a day at BismarckBobcats.com, by clicking “Shop Now” on the team Facebook page or by calling 222-3300.
Friday’s contest will be broadcast live 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—with pregame coverage starting at 6:45pm.
Season tickets are still on sale for the 2015-16 season at a pro-rated price; if you want to beat the rush of over 40,000 fans for this year, now is the time! Call 222-3300 to reserve your seats today.
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