Rookies Rally Penalty Kill as Cats Top Tauros
MINOT, ND – Three rookies lit the lamp—including two shorthanded—as the Bismarck Bobcats posted a 4-2, come-from-behind victory Thursday in their preseason opener against the Minot Minotauros at Maysa Arena.
Trailing 1-0 on a first-period power play goal by Tauros forward Nick Monfils, the Bobcats sparked a rally when newcomer Anthony Song looked off a centering feed following a Minot turnover before beating Tauros goalie Tanner Holmes inside the short post to tie the game at one with 8:04 to go in the second.
Just 2:04 later, fellow first-year Bobcat Harrison Aide struck for the Bobcats, ripping home a transition wrist shot on the penalty kill to lift the visitors to their first lead of the night at 2-1.
Early in the third the Bobcats extended their lead on another quick burst of scoring: Alex Strand blazed home a snap shot off an Alex Toscano feed; 66 seconds later Century High product Keaton Leininger tallied a shorthanded goal of his own, redirecting in a pass from Logan Rivard to extend the lead to 4-1 with 16:23 left in the final stanza.
Minot made things interesting late when Troy Degler stuffed home a loose rebound past Bobcat goalie Hunter Shepard to cut the score to 4-2 with 8:58 remaining, but the Cats’ penalty kill stiffened, shutting down back-to-back Minotauro power plays in the last eight-plus minutes.
After giving up Monfils’ marker in the first, the Bobcat ‘PK’ killed six straight penalties to help preserve the victory.
Shepard, the reigning Frank Brimsek Award winner for outstanding goalie in Minnesota’s high school ranks, collected the win and dazzled in net in his Bobcat debut, turning aside multiple high-quality scoring chances in the first and third periods to help fuel his teammates’ four-goal surge.
Holmes took the loss in net for Minot; former Minnesota Magician Atte Tolvinen got the start for the Tauros and did not allow a goal in over 30 minutes of play but did not factor into the decision.
The Bobcats and Minotauros will get their final 2014-15 tune-up Saturday when they meet at the VFW Sports Center for a 7:15pm for each side’s preseason finale.
Tickets are on sale for Saturday’s contest exclusively at BismarckBobcats.com.
Regular season play begins for the 2014-15 campaign on September 17 as the Cats face the Soo Eagles at the Easton NAHL Showcase in Blaine, Minn., with Coors Light Opening Night to follow on September 27 when they host the Austin Bruins in a rematch of the last three Central Division Finals.
With the 2014-15 season arriving soon, demand for season tickets is at an all-time high; fans who want to lock in their seats for the entire campaign should call the Bobcat office at 222-3300 today!