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Bobcats Fade Down the Stretch as Special Teams Falter
 
BISMARCK, ND – The Bismarck Bobcats’ season-high five-game win streak came to an abrupt halt as the Brookings Blizzard scored six unanswered goals to uproot the Cats 6-2 Friday at the VFW Sports Center.
 
Tied 2-2 after two, the Bobcats surrendered the go-ahead goal to Brookings just 34 seconds into the third as newcomer Nate Colwell ripped home a Beau Michaud rebound before Bobcat netminder Alex Bitsakis could recover to give the Blizzard the lead.
 
Kevin Shand, another midseason acquisition for Brookings, compounded the Bobcats’ troubles less than four minutes later, scoring his fourth goal for the Blizzard to push the visitors to a 4-2 advantage.
 
A giveaway at the tail end of a penalty kill put the home side in a deeper hole as Zed Dietrich stole an outlet pass and beat Bitsakis low stick side with 9:32 left, then Bobcat killer Zach Glienke put the finishing touches on Brookings’ offensive explosion with a shorthanded strike with 3:38 remaining for the final 6-2 count.
 
It was the Bobcats who scored the first two goals of the game, with Tanner Salsberry blasting home a power play goal seven and a half minutes before Jared Turcotte redirected an Evan Giesler pass on a shorthanded rush to give the Cats a 2-0 lead with 5:07 to go in the first.
 
On the same penalty kill that Turcotte turned into his fifth goal of the year, Brookings responded with an Oscar Odd goal when the Cats failed to clear their own zone, triggering the Blizzard’s big run.
 
Joe Nathe continued Brookings’ special teams surge, searing a low liner through traffic that Bitsakis couldn’t track to tie the game at two with 15:24 on the clock in the second, setting the stage for the Blizzard’s third-period eruption.
 
Bitsakis took his ninth loss of the year on 14 saves. Brookings rookie phenom Ryan Kubic submitted a 25-save performance to get back to .500 with his fifth win since arriving in late November.
 
The Bobcats will look for redemption Saturday as they wrap their three-game weekend with a 7:15pm rematch against the Blizzard at Larson Ice Center.
 
Live coverage of Saturday’s grudge match will begin at 6:45pm 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.
 
Though the 2014-15 season is over half way through, there is still time to order season tickets for the year; fans who want to lock in their seats for the remainder of the campaign should call the Bobcat office at 222-3300 today!