ONALASKA, WI – The Bismarck Bobcats took down their third consecutive Central Division championship Monday with a 3-1 Game Five win over the Coulee Region Chill at the Omni Center, delivering the Cats a three-games-to-two series win in the best-of-five Central Division Finals.
In a 1-1 tie in the second period, Rodney LaLonde delivered the eventual game winner on a wild play in the Chill end as six players plus Coulee Region goalie Paul Moberg piled up in front of the Chill net and the puck kicked out to LaLonde, who wired it into the open net for his first goal in 110 career NAHL games.
“I couldn’t tell from the point if the net was off or if the refs were going to stop the play,” recalled LaLonde, who the Bobcats acquired in a deadline deal with the Texas Tornado, “so I just threw it to the net and it ended up great.”
Outside of LaLonde’s game-winner, the story of Game Five came in net as Bobcat netminder Ryan Faragher gave up a goal on his first shot of the game—a point-blank redirect by Berkley Scott 52 seconds into the game—then recovered to stop the next 33 attempts he faced to secure his fourth win of the 2011 postseason.
“Right after that first goal we went down on the penalty kill and they put some shots on me that helped me get a good feel for the puck,” noted Faragher, “so I was able to get into the flow of the game.”
Bryce Schmitt tied the game with 3:37 left in the first, chopping a one-timer from Frank DeAugustine over Moberg’s glove to set the stage for LaLonde’s heroics.
Castan Sommer iced the game for the Cats, popping the puck into an empty net with 35 seconds left for the 3-1 final.
Faragher improved to 5-1 in elimination games over the past two years with a 1.15 GAA in those contests.
Moberg made 43 saves but finished 2-3 in the playoffs.
Because the Amarillo Bulls and Michigan Warriors won the South and North Divisions, respectively, the Bobcats will travel early to Landon Arena in Topeka, Kan.—the site of the 2011 Robertson Cup Tournament—for a two-game play-in series against the Warriors for the fourth and final spot at the national tournament.
Game One of the play-in will be at 7:00 PM at Landon Arena on Thursday.
The first of the play-in contests will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270, KLXX-AM, and worldwide at http://nahl.fasthockey.com/. As with all away games during the 2010-11 season, fans are encouraged to view the game at Reza’s Pitch—the official away game Home of the Bobcats—at the corner of Third and Front in Bismarck.
Season tickets are now on sale for the 2011-12 season! Call the Bobcat Hockey office at (701) 222-3300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on reserving your seats for next season!
2010 ROBERTSON CUP CHAMPIONS