Storm’s Coming

ALEXANDRIA, MN – This Bismarck Bobcats will finish out their pre-All-Star Break schedule with a two-game, home-and-home series with the Alexandria Blizzard, starting Friday with a 7:30 PM contest at the Runestone Center before returning home for a 7:15 PM showdown at the VFW Sports Center.

The series is, once again, a showdown between the top two teams in the Central Division as the Bobcats (37-8-1, 75 pts) sit 14 points ahead of the second-place Blizzard (29-13-3, 61 pts) with 14 games left in the 2011-12 season.

“We’re getting down to a time in the season where every point counts and your team needs to start playing its best defensive hockey,” noted Bobcats forward Frank DeAugustine, who notched two goals and an assist in two games against the Blizzard and Austin Bruins last weekend. “We have a deep forward unit so we’ve relied on offense most of the year but if we want our best shot when April gets here, we need to keep the puck out of our net.”

Defense will be a primary concern for the Bobcats, who gave up four goals to the visiting Blizzard in a 4-2 Friday loss that halted their franchise-record 14-game home winning streak.

The Bobcats have also surrendered their season high in goals to the Blizzard, allowing six in a 6-4 loss on January 21 in Alexandria.

Special teams are also a key to getting back at the Blizzard, against whom the Bobcats are 3-2-0 since New Year’s.

“Our penalty kill needs to sacrifice, work hard and block shots and passes,” explained Bobcats assistant coach Mark Erickson. “Forwards and ‘D’ need to keep their heads on a swivel and watch out for deflections in front of the net when the shots come in from the point.

“On the power play we need to make smart reactions to the heavy pressure, because when you’re playing Alexandria, you know the pressure is coming.”

The weekend’s marquee matchup looks to be between the pipes as long-time friends Tommy Burke (25) and Jacob Meyers (23) are first and third in the league in wins for the Bobcats and Blizzard, respectively.

Saturday’s game at the VFW will be “Wear Your Favorite Jersey Night” as part of USA Hockey’s Hockey Weekend Across America, with any fan who wears a hockey jersey to the game entered to win an autographed Bobcats home jersey.

Both Friday and Saturdays contests 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 a half hour before each game. 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.

Season tickets are still available for the second half of 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 the rest of the season!