AUSTIN, MN – The Bismarck Bobcats rebounded in a big way Friday, dropping the Austin Bruins 6-1 Friday at Riverside Arena to get back into the win column after dropping a disappointing 6-4 decision last Saturday in Alexandria.
“We’re not looking back on last week too much; I think we needed a good kick in the pants so that our guys’ heads didn’t get too big with all the early season success,” noted Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, whose team secured its 32nd win of 2011-12 Friday, eclipsing its 2010-11 total of 31. “We got back to work tonight and the guys responded with a good effort.”
The Bobcats didn’t take long to get started, as Patrick Moore banged in a Castan Sommer rebound 1:23 into the game to post the visitors to a fast 1-0 lead.
Shane Omdahl followed Moore’s 13th goal of the year with a tally of his own, getting the second tip on a John Furgele shot on the power play to redirect the puck through Bruin goalie Tyler Bruggeman’s legs for a 2-0 lead just 2:55 into the game.
Adam Knochenmus extended the lead to 3-0 with 8:01 left in the second, pulling up on a 3-on-3 rush and, as the Austin defense cheated away for a pass, blazed a rising snap shot over Bruggeman’s glove.
Castan Sommer put the Bobcats in firm control at the 4:55 mark of the second, grabbing the puck off a Tyler Richter faceoff win on the penalty kill and ripping a one-touch blast in for his first shorthanded goal of the year and a 4-0 spread for the Cats.
Austin tried to muscle their way into the game early in the third as Chris Fischer grabbed a loose puck on a scramble in front of the Bobcat net and spoiled the shutout of a screened-out Aaron Nelson just 2:09 into the final frame.
The Bobcats moved quickly to squash the Bruins’ momentum, however, as Sommer collected the team’s second power play goal 3:35 later, hammering a rising shot off relief goalie Nick Lehr’s shoulder and in to push the lead to 5-1.
“Our special teams were obviously a big part of how [Friday] went for us,” explained Sommer, who now leads the Bobcats in goals (24), power play goals (9) and points (45). “The power play… we got ten chances; when you get that many tries you better score. The ‘PK’ was a bigger focus tonight and everyone did a great job to not even let them get set up for the most part.”
Richter put an exclamation point on the night for the penalty kill, which was a perfect 5-for-5, using a screen from Bryce Anderson to beat Lehr with a low shot with 2:56 left in the game for the final 6-1 margin.
Nelson made numerous highlight reel stops on a persistent Austin attack, stymying 19 of 20 Bruin shots on the way to his 10th win of the year.
“I got a good look at the shots tonight, and the ‘D’ was out blocking shots really well in front of me,” credited Nelson, who broke the hearts of the Austin faithful when the puck took a funny hop off the stanchion late in the third, forcing the former Century High standout to make a diving glove stab to keep it out.
“I just had to throw my glove out and hope I made it in time.”
Bruggeman took the loss, making 11 saves before being lifted for Lehr, who also made 11 stops.
The Bobcats will play their second of three games on the weekend Saturday with a 7:05 PM rematch against the Bruins at Riverside Arena before heading northwest to take on the Alexandria Blizzard for a 5:00 PM Sunday showdown at the Runestone Center.
Both contests 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 30 minutes before each game. 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 email@example.com for more information on reserving a pro-rated package for the rest of the season!