AUSTIN, MN – The Bismarck Bobcats used a 3-for-5 effort by their red-hot power play to double up the Austin Bruins Saturday by a final count of 4-2 at Riverside Arena.
“All week we studied tape of Austin’s penalty kill and noticed that they overload pressure to one side,” explained Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, whose team has notched at least one power play goal in its last ten games. “When you get that kind of pressure, you have to make plays to the weak side, and that’s how we had success [Saturday].”
Patrick Moore kick-started the man advantage corps 8:38 into the game when Shane Omdahl found his fellow rookie wide open in front of the Bruin net to bang home his second goal in as many nights for a 1-0 Bobcat lead.
Austin answered with a power play strike of their own, however, five minutes later when Trevor Waldoch guided a low slap shot through traffic that beat Bobcat goalie Tommy Burke to level the score at 1-1.
The Bobcat power play cranked it up again in response early in the second period when Burke caught the Bruins in a line change by hitting Donald Olivieri with a half-ice pass for a 2-on-1 with Omdahl that Olivieri converted with a blistering slap shot past Bruins netminder Tyler Bruggeman to push the Cats ahead 2-1 1:58 into the middle frame.
A bit of good fortune restored the tie for the Bruins when a low point shot deflected off the skate of Austin forward Colton Kramer and over Burke’s glove with 6:05 to go in the second.
Minutes after he had an apparent goal waved off by the referees, Moore put the Bobcats ahead for good with his second power play goal of the night with just 1:38 as Adam Knochenmus found him all alone on the back door for an easy put-back and a 3-2 edge heading into intermission.
“I thought the one before was in by at least a foot, but we all know that when we get bad breaks we can’t get down,” noted Moore, who has three goals on the weekend. “So we kept working hard when we got that power play and Adam made a great play to find me back there.”
Nick Miglio added some third period insurance for the visitors on an up-ice rush, speeding past Austin blueliner Christian Folin and flicking a wrist shot off Bruggeman’s backside and in at the 13:55 mark to double the lead to 4-2.
Burke made the lead stand up, making numerous glove saves in traffic and kicking out a number of highlight reel saves to secure his 22nd win of the season. He would finish with 35 saves.
“I’ll tell you what, Tommy was putting a big smile on my face in the third period, there,” credited Sedevie, a former Division I and professional goaltender. “The way he was working his glove was giving everyone on the bench a big boost. He played a great game tonight.”
Bruggeman, who was lifted for backup Nick Lehr after Miglio’s goal due to an apparent shoulder injury, made 27 saves but suffered his ninth loss of 2011-12.
Despite the loss, Austin clinched their franchise’s first-ever playoff spot thanks to Aberdeen’s 5-0 win over Minot. The Wings also locked up their first postseason appearance.
The Bobcats will wrap up their meat grinder of a three-game weekend Sunday with a 5:00 PM showdown at the Runestone Center with the Alexandria Blizzard, holders of a league-high 11-game win streak.
Sunday’s matchup of the Central Division’s top two teams 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 http://nahl.fasthockey.com. Pregame coverage gets under way at 4:30. Fans can watch the games—and all away contests—live at Reza’s Pitch at Third and Front in Bismarck, the official away game home of Bobcat Hockey.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on reserving a pro-rated package for the rest of the season!