Bandits Nip Bobcars 3-2 in Thriller

BLAINE, MN – The Bismarck Bobcats saw their two-goal rally come up short Friday as the St. Louis Bandits held on for a 3-2 win over the Bobcats on Day Three of the NAHL Sherwood Showcase.

Facing an early 2-0 deficit to the three-time defending Robertson Cup champions in the second period, the Bobcats started their comeback when Ryan Jacobson stuffed a Stan Smrke rebound into the St. Louis net on the power play to cut the Bandits’ lead to 2-1.

In the third, the Bobcats scored their second unanswered marker as defenseman John Avino used a Nick Jensen screen to beat Bandits keeper Erick Cinotti, tying the game at 2-2 with 15:50 left in regulation.

St. Louis defenseman John Houston put the Bandits back up for good with 5:49 left with a bad-angle backhand shot that rolled off Bobcat goalie Ryan Massa’s glove and in for the 3-2 Bandit lead.

The Bandits deployed a strong neutral zone trap to stymie the Bobcat attempts at an equalizer over the last five-plus minutes, anchored by a handful of big saves late from Cinotti to hold on for the win.

St. Louis opened the scoring on an unassisted goal for Dan Olszewski when the Bandit forward won a faceoff in the Bobcats’ zone to himself and efforted a backhand shot off a skate in front and through the legs of Massa to give the champs a 1-0 lead.

Four minutes later, another Olszewski faceoff win led to a Christopher Eick goal that quickly gave the Bandits a 2-0 lead with 7:46 left in the first period.

Massa foiled multiple Bandits scoring opportunities through the rest of the first period to set up the Bobcats’ rally. The Littleton, Colo., native finished the game with 26 saves but saw his 2009-10 record fall to 0-1-1.

Cinotti finished the game with 18 stops to improve to 2-0-0 on the young campaign.

The Bobcats wrap up their Showcase schedule Saturday morning with a 9:45 AM start against the Traverse City North Stars. The game will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270, KLXX-AM, and worldwide at via B2 Networks. The pre-game show will begin at 9:15 AM.

The Bobcats open their home schedule on Friday, September 25th, with Coors Light Opening Night when they host the Alaska Avalanche at the VFW Sports Center at 7:15 PM.

You won\’t want to miss any of the games this season, so order your Season Tickets, Family Packs and Group Night’s today by calling the Bobcat Hockey Office at 701-222-3300 or by e-mailing the office for more information at