BISMARCK, ND–The trip from first to third in the NAHL Central Division can be a short, low-scoring, frustrating one, as the Bobcats encountered Tuesday night.
Despite a 40-22 shots-on-goal advantage, the Bobcats were topped by the Aberdeen Wings 2-1 at the VFW Sports Center, sending Bismarck out of a first-place tie with Austin to third in the Central Division.
The loss was the fourth in the last five home games for the Bobcats (19-10-3), who were the last team in the NAHL to lose a game in regulation on their home ice this year.
"I thought we had good chances all night," said Bobcat head coach Layne Sedevie. "We just couldn’t bury them. We couldn’t get to the gritty areas we need to."
Jake Horton scored both Aberdeen goals, including the eventual gamewinner at 18:08 of the third period, a goal from a long possession in the Bobcats end after the Wings played defensively all period long.
"In the end it’s a simple game. You have to get pucks in, and you have to get them out. We didn’t get one out at the end and it cost us," explained Sedevie.
Tony German (Bismarck, ND) scored for the second straight game, cleaning up a rebounded shot from Huba Sekesi (Munich, Germany) to give the Bobcats the opening lead at 5:40 of the second.
But Horton took a long pass from Bjorn Sigardarson after a Bobcat turnover just 52 seconds later, and drifted up ice all alone, beating Aaron Nelson at 6:32 to tie the game.
Aberdeen trapped their way through the third period, only opening up their offense on a pair of power plays, and continually repelled blasts from the Bobcats. The Wings only attempted four shots on goal in the third, compared to 11 by the Bobcats.
The game winner came from the right circle, when Daniel Billett snapped in a long-range shot. Nelson stopped the blast, but the rebound floated to Horton at the bottom of the right circle for the put-back, securing the lead with 1:52 left of the game.
Bismarck employed the extra attacker for around 90 seconds to finish, and earned several chances, but a collapsed Aberdeen defense clogged paths, and the Bobcats were turned away for the loss.
The Bobcats travel to Brookings for a weekend double-header Friday and Saturday night. Both games will be broadcast on Supertalk 1270, with pregame coverage beginning at 6:50 p.m. each night. Faceoff is scheduled for 7:15 both evenings.