Sommertime

ALEXANDRIA, MN – The Bismarck Bobcats picked up their fourth straight win in dramatic fashion, upending the Alexandria Blizzard with a 4-3 overtime victory on Castan Sommer’s game-winner in extra time in a back-and-forth battle Saturday at the Runestone Center.

“Tonight was much more representative of what we’re going to see out of Alexandria,” credited Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, whose team dropped the Blizzard 9-3 on September 24. “I told our guys they shouldn’t expect another 9-3 game and the Blizzard definitely proved me right. They’ve added some nice pieces and will be one of the teams to beat in this division from here on out.”

Sommer scored the game-winner with 1:53 left in bonus hockey, redirecting a Shane Omdahl pass from the low slot past Blizzard goalie Jacob Meyers to give the Cats their 17th win of 2011-12.

The goal came after Sommer had two previous chances denied by the Blizzard earlier in the overtime period.

“I’ve got to say, after the two I missed in OT, I wasn’t sure I was going to get another chance,” admitted Sommer, whose 14 goals lead the Bobcats through 21 games. “But Shane gave me a perfect pass at the perfect time and I finally got one through.”

Rory Vesel got the visitors on the board first, stealing the puck at the Alexandria blue line and ripping a shot that bounded off Meyers and trickled over the goal line, giving the Bobcats a 1-0 lead with 7:08 left in the first period—and Vesel his first goal at the junior level.

Former Bobcat Charlie Aus tied the game at one with just one second left in the opening frame, launching a point shot on the power play that deflected off a Bobcat defender and in past goalie Tommy Burke.

Tyler Richter pushed the Bobcats back ahead with his fourth goal in four games, taking the puck after Danny Ray had his shot blocked and zipped it under Meyers’ blocker into the second—making it 2-1.

Alexandria evened it up again 1:09 later when Nick D’Avolio ripped a one-timer through Burke’s legs for his fifth of the year.

Adam Knochenmus, acquired by the Bobcats in a trade with the Blizzard in exchange for Aus and Rodney LaLonde, nudged the Cats ahead 3-2 when he pulled the trigger on a one-timer from Frank DeAugustine that bounced off LaLonde and in with 6:54 remaining in the second.

“I don’t know how to describe it,” confessed a smiling Knochenmus, who now has four goals and nine assists since arriving in Bismarck, “but it was definitely cool to go back into the Runestone Center and get a goal with friends and family in the stands against a lot of guys that I’m still good friends with.”

LaLonde forced yet another tie at 3-3, notching his first career regular-season goal when he blasted a rising slap shot through traffic over Burke’s stick with 3:38 to go in the middle frame.

With that goal, all three pieces of the Aus-LaLonde-Knochenmus trade ended up scoring Saturday.

Neither side was able to break through in the third, with Burke stealing the show with 10 saves on his way to 30 stops and his 12th win of the season.

Meyer turned back 21 Bobcat shots but slipped to 7-2-1 on the year.

Saturday’s defeat snapped the Blizzard’s three-game winning streak and was only their fourth loss since the two sides met in September.

The Bobcats return to action with a special Wednesday night home contest against the Aberdeen Wings at 7:15 PM at the VFW Sports Center.

Wednesday’s night-before-Thanksgiving edition of the Dakota 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 http://nahl.fasthockey.com. Pregame coverage gets under way at 6:45.

Season tickets are now on sale for the 2011-12 season—and going fast! Call the Bobcat Hockey office at (701) 222-3300 or email gobobcathockey@aol.com for more information on reserving a pro-rated package for this season!