Shepard Equals Franchise Record as Bobcats Blank Wings
BISMARCK, ND – Goalie Hunter Shepard came up big when it mattered the most and was rewarded with his sixth shutout of the year as the Bismarck Bobcats edged the Aberdeen Wings 1-0 Friday at the VFW Sports Center.
With the goose-egg, Shepard ties the Bobcats’ all-time record of shutouts in a single season, set by David Bosner in 2008-09.
“Our defense played well in front of ‘Shep’ all night, but Aberdeen had three grade-A chances in the last five minutes and he made all the stops,” credited Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie.
After peppering Wings netminder Peter Thome with quality scoring opportunities throughout the first period only to come up empty, the Bobcats broke through with 1:29 to go in the frame as Oskars Batna zipped a low snap shot in transition that deflected in off Thome to give the home side a 1-0 lead.
Both defenses clamped down in the second, allowing just 14 combined shots.
In the third, Aberdeen’s best chance came with 4:37 to go when winger Colin Raver got a step on the Bobcat defense and efforted a low shot that Shepard kicked back into the low slot, where Raver got a second whack that the second-year goalkeeper also denied to maintain the one-goal edge.
When the Wings pulled Thome for the extra attacker in the last minute, Shepard again denied bang-bang opportunities: turning away Matt Pulver then denying Will Hammer’s follow-up with 34 seconds remaining.
Aberdeen was able to control an offensive zone faceoff with nine seconds left, but three successive Bobcat shot blocks iced the game and delivered Shepard a share of the team record.
Shepard turned in a tidy 22-save performance to earn his 28th win of the season. Thome dazzled with 30 stops but could not avoid his 14th loss of 2015-16.
The two sides will reconvene for a 7:15pm Saturday rematch at the VFW Sports Center.
Tickets are now on sale for Saturday’s series finale: fans can buy and print tickets online 24 hours a day at BismarckBobcats.com, by clicking “Shop Now” on the team Facebook page or charge-by-phone at 222-3300.
Satuday’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.
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