South of the Border

ABERDEEN, SD – The Bismarck Bobcats will renew one of the NAHL’s fastest-growing rivalries when they cross state lines to take on the archrival Aberdeen Wings for a two-game set at the Odde Ice Center starting Friday.

The series marks the Cats’ second trip to Aberdeen, with the first being highlighted by a 7-2 rout of the Wings—the Bobcats’ biggest win over their neighbors to the south in two seasons.

“I hope our guys remember how good it felt to walk out of Aberdeen’s home opener with two points,” offered Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, “but I hope even more that they remember how they got those two points: getting a fast start, working hard and playing within our systems.”

Through three games of the Dakota Cup, the Bobcats lead the Wings 6-0; nine games remain in the season series.

The Bobcats have indicated that their focal point of the weekend will be Wings goalie Hunter Leisner, whose 275 saves rank fifth among all NAHL goalies—complemented by his strong .914 SV%.

“Leisner is a talented goalie with the ability to steal games,” credited Bobcats defenseman Jeremy O’Keefe, who notched his first point at the junior level with an assist against Leisner September 30, “so our objective is to get as many shots as we can on him.

“If we get 40 shots on him, even with a .900-plus save percentage that puts in good shape to get three or four goals on the road.”

Aberdeen enters the weekend on somewhat of a down note, having dropped six of their last seven games—sliding from first place in the Central all the way to fourth place behind the Bobcats, Austin Bruins and Alexandria Blizzard.

Not fooled by the cold spell the Wings are suffering, some Bobcats feel the tough times will make Aberdeen an even tougher out.

“They’ve had some tough losses lately, but that means they’ll be coming into a home weekend with a lot of desperation,” noted Bobcats forward Cody Boyd. “We expect them to come out flying to try and get their home crowd buzzing. It’ll be our job to try and take that crowd out quickly so they can’t get any early momentum.”

That crowd is a major reason the 2010-11 installment of the Bobcats had a hard time at Odde Ice Center, where they were only victorious twice in six visits.

Friday’s series opener begins at 7:15 and 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 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 for more information on reserving a pro-rated package for this season!