Bobcats Edge Brown Bears with Murin’s Natural Hat Trick
BISMARCK, ND – Center Matej Murin provided just enough offense Friday for the Bismarck Bobcats, who needed every goal of his natural hat trick to hold off the Kenai River Brown Bears 3-2 at the VFW Sports Center.
Murin got his first goal of the night deep into the first period, breaking the scoreless tie by stepping into the slot and elevating a 30-foot shot over the glove of Kenai River netminder Artur Pavliukov with 1:38 left in the frame.
On the other side of the ensuing intermission, the Slovakian forward doubled the Cats’ lead to 2-0 from the left-wing circle, besting Pavliukov’s glove again just 41 seconds into the middle stanza.
Kenai River got on the board at the 9:22 mark of the second, using their league-leading power play to cut the score to 2-1 when Gil Garcia snapped a Sacha Guillemain rebound in before Bobcat goalie Ryan Ullan could recover to his right.
Murin saved his best for last, however, lifting a backhand out of his skates on the rush over Pavliukov’s blocker into the top corner of the net for a 3-1 Bobcat advantage with 4:01 to go in the second—ending the night of the Kenai River backstop, who was replaced by Gavin Enright.
In the third, the Brown Bears got back to within one with 3:43 gone in the frame on a bit of good fortune when Bobcat defender Noah Bormann collided with a linesman in the neutral zone, losing the puck to forward Michael Spethmann who raced free on a breakaway—outmaneuvering Ullan to the right post to cut the score to 3-2.
Ullan held firm after Spethmann’s tally, racking up 12 saves in the third to preserve the victory—his third of the year on 30 stops overall.
Pavliukov took the loss despite 20 saves; Enright turned away all 11 shots in 23 minutes of relief play but did not end up factoring into the decision.
Both sides will reconvene for a Saturday rematch at the VFW Sports Center at 7:15pm; fans can buy and print tickets online 24 hours a day at BismarckBobcats.com or charge by phone at 222-3300 starting at 10:00am on game day.
Saturday’s home out-of-division finale will be broadcast live locally on Super Talk 1270 AM, the radio home of the Bismarck Bobcats, and worldwide at HockeyTV.com, the official web broadcast partner of the North American Hockey League. Pre-game coverage will begin at 6:50pm.
Pro-rated season tickets are still on sale for the Bobcats’ 2017-18 campaign: lock in the best seats now and be here for all the action! Visit BismarckBobcats.com or call 222-3300 for more info.