Shaky Start

FRISCO, TX – The Bismarck Bobcats watched the Port Huron Fighting Falcons rattle off four straight goals, then watched their chances of taking early control of Pool B at the Robertson Cup erode as the Fighting Falcons pulled away for a 5-1 win over the Cats on Day One of the 2012 Robertson Cup Tournament at Dr. Pepper Arena Thursday.

Tied 1-1 through one period, a defensive-zone turnover by the Bobcats was quickly converted into a go-ahead goal by Maxwell Reavis when the former Aberdeen Wing snapped a quick shot over the glove of Bobcat goalie Aaron Nelson to give Port Huron a 2-1 lead just 33 seconds into the second.

The Bobcats battled for an equalizer, but could not solve Fighting Falcons goalie Max Milosek and eventually saw their deficit grow to 3-1 when another defensive-zone giveaway turned into a scoring chance for Mike Moroso. Nelson stopped Moroso’s initial shot but the rebound trickled to the goal line but as Nelson stretched out to snare it from danger the former Century High netminder inadvertently knocked it into his own net with 9:48 to go in the second.

Milosek got a big lift from his defense in the third as the Bobcats could only merit four shots on net in the final frame despite carrying the play through a large portion of the final frame.

Joseph Pizza pushed the lead to 4-1 4:43 into the third, batting in a Nicholas Sierra rebound to make it a three-goal contest and prematurely end Nelson’s night. Nelson finished with just eight saves and suffered only his second playoff defeat.

Tommy Burke replaced Nelson but could not keep his sheet clean as Ian Miller closed out the scoring with a rising blast that soared over Burke’s blocker to make it 5-1 with 5:25 left in the game.

Milosek secured the victory on a light load of 17 saves.

The Bobcats and Falcons battled to a 1-1 tie through 20 minutes as Kody Polin got Port Huron started by chipping a loose puck over Nelson but Bryce Schmitt answered 5:29 later by banging in a Buster Hebda rebound, but it would stand as the Cats’ only goal of the night.

Burke made seven saves with no decision.

The loss drops the Bobcats into a tie with Fairbanks in Pool B at 0-1, pending the result of Thursday’s nightcap between Amarillo and Texas.

Pool play continues for the now-desperate Bobcats Friday at 12:30 PM when they face off against the Midwest Division Champion St. Louis Bandits at Dr. Pepper Arena.

Friday’s pivotal matchup, along with all Bobcats games at the Robertson Cup, 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 Pregame coverage gets under way at 12:00 Friday. Fans can watch Friday’s game—and all away contests—live at Reza’s Pitch at Third and Front in Bismarck, the official away game home of Bobcat Hockey.