Bobcats Start Slow, Fall at Austin
AUSTIN, MN – The Bismarck Bobcats faltered out of the gates Saturday at Riverside Arena and could not recover, giving up five goals in the first period before dropping an 8-3 decision to the division-leading Austin Bruins.
Austin put the Bobcats into an early hole, getting two goals off rebounds from Chris Fischer and John Simonson in the first 35 seconds of the contest to take control of the game at 2-0.
Riley Colvard continued the Bobcats’ troubles 2:47 later, rifling a low slap shot on the power play through traffic and in, pushing the Bruins to a 3-0 lead. Colvard’s strike chased Bobcat starting goalie Aaron Nelson from the net after just one save.
Relief goaltender Bryan Nies did not fare much better, as the Bobcat defense surrendered two more goals to Nate Mondry and Travis Maxwell to fall behind 5-0 through 20 minutes.
“Sometimes you catch unlucky bounces, but that wasn’t the case for us,” stated Bobcats assistant coach Garrett Roth. “We had an icing call to start the game with no pressure, then three blown assignments and the last goal was a long shot that we didn’t block. Little things that we didn’t do put us down big early.”
Josh Bretner’s power play goal with 15:54 to go in the second put a cap on the Bruins’ six-goal burst.
The Bobcats finally muscled their way onto the board 39 seconds after Bretner’s tally in transition as Filip Starzynski bombed in a centering feed from Stanislav Dzakhov.
Fischer and C.J. Smith answered back for the Bruins, tapping in point-blank chances past Nies to push the Bruins’ advantage out to 8-1. Following Smith’s goal, which gave the second-year forward a five-point night, Nelson came back into the net for the Bobcats.
Nelson made 10 saves after returning, keeping the Bruins off the board the rest of the way.
Ryan Callahan picked up a goal for the Bobcats with 2:45 to go in the second, tucking home a pass from Patrick Moore to cut the score to 8-2.
Jeremy O’Keefe tallied the only goal of the third period for the 8-3 final, taking an entry feed from Adam Knochenmus on a 4-on-4 and bombing home a rising slap shot with 12:55 to go in the game.
The game took an ugly turn with 1:04 left when Jay Dickman blindsided Knochenmus in open ice, earning the Bruins’ fifth-leading a five minute major and a game misconduct for head contact. Knochenmus had to be helped from the ice and did not return in the game’s final minute.
Starting Austin goalie Nick Lehr picked up the win on just six saves, eventually being replaced by rookie Jason Pawloski, who made 11 saves without factoring into the decision.
The Bobcats will look to bounce back Wednesday when they host the third-place Brookings Blizzard for a special mid-week game at 7:15 PM at the VFW Sports Center.
Tickets for the game are on sale by calling the Bobcat Box Office at 222-3300; fans can buy and print tickets online right now at BismarckBobcats.com.
Wednesday’s contest 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 6:45 PM.
Pro-rated season tickets for the 2012-13 season are now on sale—and going fast! Call the Bobcat Hockey office today at (701) 222-3300 to reserve your seats for another great season of Championship Entertainment.