Texas-Sized

DAWSON CREEK, BC – The Bismarck Bobcats got a hat trick from forward Nick Miglio and picked up goals from all four forward lines on their way to a 9-3 rout of the Dawson Creek Rage Saturday at the Encana Events Centre.

After an early goal by Dawson Creek’s Austin Adduono put the visitors in a 1-0 hole, the Bobcats broke loose with their second huge rally in as many nights—rattling off six unanswered—starting with Danny Ray using a Bryce Schmitt screen to line a low slap shot past Rage goalie Jack Surgenor to tie the score with 10:15 left in the opening frame.

Filip Starzynski continued the rally at the tail end of a second period power play, finishing a 3-on-2 rush by one-timing a Frank DeAugustine feed past Surgenor to give the Cats a lead that they would not relinquish with 4:50 gone in the second.

“Special teams have been a big part of what we’ve been doing so far,” pointed out Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, whose power play notched four goals on the weekend while the penalty kill only surrendered one goal in 14 kills. “So often games come down to one or two goals, so if you’re producing on the ‘PP’ while the ‘PK’ is keeping the other team off the board, that can swing a whole game—a whole weekend sometimes.”

Miglio followed Starzynski’s go-ahead effort with his first of the night at the 10:38 mark of the second, finding time and space out of the corner on the forecheck and blazing a wrister into the top corner of the Rage net for a 3-1 Bobcat lead.

Bryce Anderson extended the lead to 4-1 just 1:28 later with his first goal of the year, ringing a one-timer off a centering feed from DeAugustine through Surgenor’s legs.

Miglio kept up the momentum on the second period outburst 75 seconds after Anderson’s tally by batting home a Shane Omdahl rebound on the rush to extend the advantage to 5-1.

For the game, Miglio’s line with Schmitt and Adam Knochenmus racked up ten points on three goals and seven assists.

“When Coach put our line together last week, it was a bit rocky to start,” admitted Miglio, who totaled four points Saturday, “but we got a week of practice under our belts and the confidence started showing up in Canada.”

Forward Patrick Moore picked up his third goal of the weekend when Schmitt found him open in the mid-slot and the Grand Rapids, Minn., native spun home a backhand through Surgenor’s legs to cap the six-goal rally for a 6-1 lead after two periods.

Blueliner Evan Ripley got the Rage back within four early in the third on a slap shot through a screen in front, but Cats rookie Ryan Callahan put it back to a five-goal game, taking a back-door pass from Stazynski and guiding it inside the near post for a 7-2 score with 9:22 left in regulation.

It was a bit of luck that helped Miglio complete the hat trick, as the second-year forward sent a bad-angle shot on net that ricocheted off two Dawson Creek defenders and in for the a 9-2 margin.

The hat trick is the first time the Bobcats have pulled off the feat since the 2010 Robertson Cup Tournament, when Sam Rendle scored three goals against the St. Louis Bandits in the tournament-opening game.

Both teams traded power play goals late in the third, with Jeremy O’Keefe’s first goal as a Bobcat followed by Tyson McCallum’s score in traffic for the Rage providing the final 9-3 count.

The Bobcat power play finished 2-for-5 Saturday; the unit has gone six straight games with at least one goal while compiling the NAHL’s second-best efficiency rating at a sturdy 29.5%.

“We’re moving the puck very well right now on the ‘PP,’ and the ability of the forwards to keep possession going has made things silky smooth for the defense,” credited O’Keefe, who has logged power play time in his first four games in black and gold, with a goal and two assists coming on the man advantage already for the rookie out of Grand Forks. “The scary thing is that there’s still plenty of room for improvement for the power play right now.”

Bobcat goalie Tommy Burke secured his seventh win of the season behind 23 saves while Surgenor made 36 saves but could not avoid his third loss of 2011-12.

The Bobcats return to divisional play Friday at 7:15 PM as they open a two-game home set with the second-place Austin Bruins at the VFW Sports Center.

The clash of Central Division foes 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 8:30.

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!

BOBCAT HOCKEY

2011 CENTRAL DIVISION CHAMPIONS