Ash to Ash

Ashbrook’s Career First Lifts Bobcats to 2-1 Win
BISMARCK, ND – Tied with less than 10 minutes left in regulation Saturday, the Bismarck Bobcats got back ahead on Tristan Ashbrook’s first career goal and never looked back, edging the Brookings Blizzard 2-1 at the VFW Sports Center.
Sitting even at 1-1, the Bobcat forward Luke Millen won a neutral zone wall battle, freeing the puck to Ashbrook, who strode to the left wing circle and sent a low slap shot inside the left post past former Bobcat netminder Nick Althaus with 6:53 left for a 2-1 lead.
“I just looked around when I got into the zone, and saw [Althaus] might be screened by his own ‘D’ so I decided to get it on net,” recalled Ashbrook, who was in the Cats’ starting lineup for the second straight game. “It feels great to be able to get my first goal in a way that helps our team get a win and sweep a home weekend like that.”
For the third straight game, the Bobcats drew first blood Saturday—5:16 into the game—on the power play when Zach Kennedy rifled a slap shot that rang the back bar and flew back out so fast that play continued back up the ice, but the referees ruled it to be a goal, lifting the Cats to a 1-0 edge.
In a second period filled with special teams play, the Bobcat penalty kill rose to the challenge: killing off nine minutes of penalties that included a five-minute major and game misconduct to Kennedy and a 5-on-3 to maintain the one-goal advantage through 40 minutes of play.
The key moment from the “PK” came 16 seconds into Kennedy’s major when Bobcat goalie Will Ulrich dove to his right to deny consecutive close-range chances from Brookings’ Taylor Schneider and Cade Borchardt, holding the left post with his right arm to deny an equalizer.
Despite Ulrich’s heroics, Brookings spoiled his shutout with 13:45 left in the third, tying the game at one as a blown coverage freed Paul Cotter for a short breakaway that the rookie winger used to outmaneuver the Bobcat backstop and tuck in a forehand—setting the stage for Ashbrook’s decisive strike.
Ulrich turned away 31 of 32 shots sent his way to secure his third straight win in net. Althaus made 32 saves against his old teammates but could not avoid his second loss of the year.
Now the Bobcats head out for four straight road games, spanning two weeks, starting Friday with a 7:15pm tilt at Odde Ice Center against the Aberdeen Wings.
Friday’s rivalry matchup will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270 AM, and worldwide on–the web television partner of the North American Hockey League–with pregame coverage starting at 6:45pm.
Season tickets are now on sale for the Bobcats’ landmark platinum anniversary campaign fans can get more information or reserve their seats for all of Season Twenty now by calling 222-3300.