Shepard Makes History while Bobcat Offense Bounces Back in 4-0 Win
BISMARCK, ND – The Bismarck Bobcat offense shook out of the doldrums while goalie Hunter Shepard equaled two franchise records as the Cats took care of the Brookings Blizzard 4-0 Friday at the VFW Sports Center.
One night after being unable to muster a goal on the road, the Bobcat power play got the scoring started with 7:35 to go in the first when third-year center Alex Strand corralled a Jared Pike rebound and, while falling away from the net, scooped a sharp-angle backhander home before Brookings netminder Josh Kuemichel could recover to make it 1-0 in favor of the Cats.
A hard-working Bobcat forecheck helped open the floodgates in the second when forward Parker Mismash stole the puck on the right-wing boards and stickhandled through multiple defenders before hitting a streaking Aaron Herdt for a back-door one-timer that stretched the lead to 2-0 with 11:38 left in the middle stanza.
Just 47 seconds later, Oskars Batna collected a Jared Pike entry pass with a head of steam on a short 2-on-1 rush, bulldozing his way to the front of the Brookings net and beating Kuemichel five-hole to push the score to 3-0.
In the third, the Bobcat defense went to work: holding the Blizzard without a shot for the first 10:33 of the frame.
Pike put the finishing touches on Friday’s scoring, making it 4-0 with 2:45 left in the game on a long-range wrist shot that pinballed in off a Brookings defender for the night’s final tally.
On the night, Shepard turned in 23 stops to secure his eighth shutout of 2015-16. It was also his ninth career goose-egg—tying him for first all-time with 2011-14 keeper Aaron Nelson—and 31st win of the year—equaling Tommy Burke’s single-season record from 2011-12.
Kuemichel made 20 stops but saw his record slip to 11-12-2 on the season.
Friday’s victory returned the Bobcats (34-18-3, 71 pts) to a first-place tie with idle Minot (33-18-5, 71 pts) atop the Central with five games left in the regular season.
The Bobcats and Blizzard will reconvene for their final meeting of the regular season Saturday with a 7:15pm rematch at the VFW Sports Center.
Tickets are now on sale for Saturday’s matchup: fans can buy and print tickets 24 hours a day at BismarckBobcats.com, by clicking “Shop Now” on the team Facebook page or charge-by-phone 9:00am until 5:00pm at 222-3300.
Saturday’s season series finale will be broadcast live locally on SuperTalk 1270, KLXX-AM, the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, and worldwide online at NAHL.FASTHockey.com—the official web television partner of the North American Hockey League—with pregame coverage starting at 6:45pm.
Now that the Bobcats are in the playoffs, now is the time to reserve your 2016-17 season tickets! All new season ticket buyers will receive Playoff Priority for the Cats’ 2016 Robertson Cup Playoff. Fans can call 222-3300 to reserve their seats and get Playoff Priority.