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Two for the Show

Major Ramifications Await as Bobcats Open Home-and-Home with Wings

Matchups: Bismarck Bobcats (18-13-1, T-2nd Central) vs Aberdeen Wings (12-15-5, 6th Central)
Games: Friday, January 15, 7:15pm; Saturday, January 16, 7:15pm
Venues: VFW Sports Center, Bismarck, N.D.; Odde Ice Center, Aberdeen, S.D.
Season Series: Bobcats lead Wings 4-0-0
All-Time: Bobcats lead Wings 39-14-10
Radio: SuperTalk 1270 AM, SuperTalk1270.com and the radioPup smartphone app, 6:45pm both nights
Internet TV: http://NAHL.FASTHockey.com, 6:45pm both nights

BISMARCK, ND – After four different visits to their southern rivals in the first half of the 2015-16 season, the Bismarck Bobcats will welcome the Aberdeen Wings to the VFW Sports Center for the first time this year when they open a weekend home-and-home series Friday.

In those four contests in Aberdeen, the Bobcats have posted a 4-0-0 mark; a season ago, the Cats finished 5-0-1 at the Odde Ice Center but just 2-3-1 at home against the Wings.

“Our team needs to figure out how to win at home, and Aberdeen is going to be a really big test of that,” offered Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, whose team slipped to 6-5-1 at home in a 6-5 loss Saturday to Minot. “We’ve found a way to lose leads in two of our last three games in our barn.”

Entering Friday, the Bobcats are one of three teams (Minot, Austin) still in the running for the Central Division’s top winning percentage at Tuesday’s standings freeze. The team with the best winning percentage will send five players to February’s Top Prospects Tournament, while second place gets four spots, third and fourth get four players apiece at the league’s annual all-star summit and fifth and sixth each get two.

Winger Willie Brown used a four-goal weekend to rocket into the team lead in scoring, boasting 15 goals and 15 assists in his first full year as a Bobcat to take a three-point lead on center Alex Strand.

The Bobcats will also be short three players for the series opener: 1998-born linemates Nick Alexander and Jared Resseguie suffered broken bones in separate games against Minot last week and are expected to miss at least a month; Oskars Batna will be serving a mandatory one-game suspension for an accumulation of boarding penalties.

“That’s the big word for us this week: adversity. We’re going to have to handle injuries and a suspension against an opponent desperate for wins,” added Sedevie. “And don’t be fooled by Aberdeen’s record, either, their defense and goaltending have been solid all year and when their offense gets clicking they’ll be a playoff threat in this division.”

With a mark of 3-2-1 in their last six contests, the Wings to the capital fresh off a 3-2 overtime win at Brookings Wednesday that pulled them within six points of a playoff spot and just 10 points back of first-place Austin.

Aberdeen also carries the third-best power play in the Central, operating at a 17.6% efficiency and providing nearly 30% of the Wings’ total offense with 19 of their 64 goals on the year. Against the Bobcats, their power play is an eye-popping 27.4% and is responsible for 75% of the Wings’ offense in the season series to date.

Tickets are now on sale for the Wings’ first visit to the capital: fans can buy and print tickets 24 hours a day at BismarckBobcats.com, by clicking “Shop Now” on the team Facebook page or by calling 222-3300.

Friday’s go-round in the Titan Machinery Dakota Cup 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.

Season tickets are still on sale for the 2015-16 season at a pro-rated price; if you want to beat the rush of over 40,000 fans for this year, now is the time! Call 222-3300 to reserve your seats today.