Three More for ’11

BISMARCK, ND – The Bismarck Bobcats will open their first three-games-in-three-nights week of 2011-12 since the NAHL Showcase in September on Thursday when they wrap a home-and-home series against the Minot Minotauros around a road contest at the Aberdeen Wings.

Thursday’s weekend opener will renew the pleasantries of the Battle of Route 83 with the Tauros, a season series in which the Bobcats presently hold the upper hand with six wins in the teams’ first seven meetings of the season.

Despite the lopsided results of the first half of the season, the Bobcats know their Minot counterparts are far from an easy out.

“Every time we play the Minotauros, they always give us their best game, no matter what,” credited Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie. “Whether it’s that we’ve got three Central Division banners hanging or that they want to win the in-state battle… they’ve been one of the toughest teams to go against that we’ve seen this year.”

The Tauros have added former Corpus Christi Ice Ray and Century High star Seth Blair and acquired former Alexandria Blizzard Jack McFarlane in an effort to add some punch up front to augment solid netminding from Jake Hebda and Tim Shaughnessy. Blair and McFarlane have paid quick dividends, combining for three goals and four assists in four games since their respective arrivals.

Minot’s only divisional win of the year came against the Cats on November 26.

In between the Bobcats-Tauros contests at both the VFW Sports Center and Maysa Arena, the Bobcats will make their first return trip to Odde Ice Center to take on the Wings since their climactic 6-5 shootout win over Aberdeen on October 22.

Through six games of the 2011-12 Titan Machinery Dakota Cup, the Bobcats lead the Wings 12-1 in the series standings behind a 6-0-0 record against their heated rivals after needing the final game of the 2010-11 season series to clinch the Cup by a final margin of 15-11.

“I don’t know what makes this year different than last year,” confessed second-year Bobcats defenseman Donald Olivieri, one of the heroes of the Bobcats’ 2-1 victory over the Russian Red Stars on December 21.”I think a lot of our vets remember the way they had our number last year and celebrated every time they beat us.

“We also know that Aberdeen isn’t just going to go away. They have a hell of a team and will be tough to play all year.”

Aberdeen continues to be led by the 1-2 scoring punch of Bemidji State recruit Cory Ward—fifth in NAHL scoring with 39 points—and Bobcat-killer Steve Obarzanek, who has 10 of 21 goals on the year in the Wings’ six games against the Bobcat. The former Albert Lea Thunder forward currently sits in second in the league in goals.

Through 29 games, the Bobcat attack is led by Frank DeAugustine’s 32 points, followed closely by Castan Sommer and Dan Zawacki, tied at 31 each. In net the Bobcats balance of Tommy Burke (15-4-0, 2.48 GAA, .910 SV%) and Aaron Nelson (7-1-1, 1.94, .922) has helped them to a 12-point division lead over second-place Austin—the largest margin for any division leader at the break.

The Bobcats kick off their three-in-three week against the Tauros on Thursday at 7:15 PM at the VFW Sports Center.

Thursday’s intrastate showdown 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 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 for more information on reserving a pro-rated package for the rest of the season!