Bobcats Gain Point, Stumble in Overtime
BISMARCK, ND – An early shorthanded goal was not enough for the Bismarck Bobcats, who fell 2-1 in overtime to the archrival Aberdeen Wings Friday at the VFW Sports Center.
Dealt an elbowing penalty to Matt Pohlkamp less than a minute into the game, the Bobcats pulled ahead at the 18:05 mark of the opening frame as Dan Kovar looked off a pass to Filip Starzynski on a short-handed 2-on-1 rush before blazing a wrister over Aberdeen netminder Chad Catt’s blocker for a fast 1-0 lead.
“It was great to see Dan pick one up there after he’d been close to scoring for a few games,” noted Bobcats assistant coach Garrett Roth. “I’m not sure Catt thought he was going to shoot—I’m not even sure Dan thought he was going to shoot until he let it rip.”
Kovar’s tally was the Cats’ first shorthanded strike of the season, which is now 55 games deep.
That lead held up until the late goings until the Wings picked up a massive chunk of good fortune as defenseman Jake Horton’s centering feed was blocked by a Bobcat defender through the legs of goalie Bryan Nies and into the net to tie the game at one.
Though no referee ever signaled whether the puck crossed the line—which the Bobcat bench contended it did not—the goal judge flashed the red light and Aberdeen had new life.
In the third, the Bobcats volleyed 16 shots in on Catt but could not solve the former Amarillo Bull. Stanislav Dzakhov gave the Cats their best scoring chance of the frame, dekeing through the entire Aberdeen defense on the power play but a glove stop from Catt held the game in a 1-1 tie with 10:03 to go in regulation.
When no victor was decided in regulation, the Bobcats picked up a point as the game headed to overtime. With the point the black and gold reduced their magic number—points gained by the Bobcats and lost by Brookings—to four for home ice advantage in the first round of the 2013 Robertson Cup Playoffs.
One point would be all the home side could muster, however, as the Wings’ top scorer, Peter Krieger, found some open space on the rush during a delayed penalty call to Levi Blom and ripped a wrister past Nies for Aberdeen’s season-high fifth straight win at 2-1, sending the Wings into a jubilant full-team celebration in the Bobcat end.
Aberdeen staved off playoff elimination for the fourth straight game with the win combined with Minot’s 3-2 home loss to Austin; the only chance for the Wings to make the playoffs is to win their final five games and Minot to lose their last five games in regulation.
Nies collected 18 saves but couldn’t get enough support from his offense, slipping to 10-7-3 on his rookie campaign. Catt stole the show for the Wings, turning aside 46 shots for his fifth win since arriving in Aberdeen.
With the traveling trophy already decided in the favor of the Bobcats since January 26, Aberdeen still managed to slice the Cats’ margin in the Titan Machinery Dakota Cup standings to 18-8 Friday.
The Bobcats will wrap up their five-game homestand Saturday with a 7:15 PM rematch against the red-hot Wings.
Saturday’s contest between the Bobcats and Wings will be the Cats’ fourth annual St. Baldrick’s Night, where Bobcat Hockey partners with Basin Electric Power Company and the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to raise money to fight childhood cancer.
For the March 16 game, the Bobcats will don special edition green St. Baldrick’s jerseys that will be auctioned off after the game. Six members of the Bobcat organization will also have their heads shaved to help raise awareness for childhood cancer: Adam Knochenmus, Jeremy O’Keefe, Chis Diver, head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, assistant coach Jim Peluso and director of broadcasting Paul Teeple. Knochenmus also plans to donate his hair to charity following the event.
Forwards Shane Omdahl and Evan Giesler had their heads shaved for the cause Friday at Basin Electric’s “Brave the Shave” event at the Bismarck YMCA.
Over the last two seasons, the Bobcats have helped raise nearly $20,000 in the fight against childhood cancer.
Tickets for the final installment of the Titan Machinery Dakota Cup are on sale right now by calling the box office at 222-3300 or buying and printing tickets online at www.BismarckBobcats.com.
The season series finale between the Bobcats and Wings 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.
Bobcat fans can get 2013 Playoff Priority if they reserve 2013-14 season tickets today! Call the Bobcat Hockey office at (701) 222-3300 to reserve your seats for another year Championship Entertainment and get first crack at seats in the 2013 Robertson Cup Playoffs.