Bobcats Squeeze out Shootout Victory in Minot
MINOT, ND – The Bismarck Bobcats battled bad luck, a red-hot opposing power play and the best shootout team in the NAHL and came away victorious, toppling the Minot Minotauros 3-2 at Maysa Arena Friday.
With the win, the Bobcats (15-11-2, 32 pts) gain their first three-game win streak of 2012-13 and stay one point ahead of Brookings (15-10-1, 31 pts) for second place in a tightening Central Division race.
It was the Bobcats that came out of the gates fast Friday, as newcomer Sam Wolfe recorded his first career goal just 1:59 into the game when the blueliner grabbed a point feed from Bob Kinne and beamed a rising snap shot through traffic and over the glove of Minot goalie Tyler Parks for a quick 1-0 lead.
Patrick Moore doubled that lead to 2-0 on the power play with 8:21 to go in the opening frame, jamming a loose puck home in a scramble around Parks for his ninth goal of 2012-13.
Parks made some big saves after Moore’s tally, including point-blank kick saves on Roope Hintz and Adam Knochenmus late in the first to stall the Bobcats’ momentum and keep the score 2-0 heading into the first intermission.
In the second, the Bobcats had difficulty staying out of the box, picking up 32 penalty minutes in the middle frame. The Cats' march to the sin bin culminated in a Lucas Oliver power play goal with 8:26 remaining in the stanza, giving the Tauros life at 2-1.
A bit of misfortune cost the visitors the lead with 10:43 left in regulation, with the Tauros turning the puck over on the power play, Bobcat netminder Aaron Nelson grabbed the biscuit and attempted to fire a clear-out to the Minot end, but ran into defenseman Rory Vesel and the puck bounced behind Nelson and in for a 2-2 tie. Mason Morelli was credited with the score.
Both sides traded penalty kills after the Morelli equalizer, but Nelson and Parks re-asserted control of the game in the late stages of regulation and brought the contest to overtime.
The Cats opened OT with 1:48 of power play time, but Parks stymied attempts from Wolfe and Nate Repensky to keep the game alive. Neither team could break through the extra frame, sending the game to a decisive shootout, where the Tauros came into the night with a 6-0 record.
Through four rounds, the teams each tallied a pair of goals: Mike Dockry and Moore scoring for the Bobcats while Cameron Rowat and Matt Audette struck for the Minotauros.
In the deciding fifth round, Repensky deked to his left and shoveled a backhander past Parks followed by Nelson kicking away a wrister by Morelli to seal a 3-2 victory for the Cats.
All told, Nelson made 31 saves to secure his 10th win of 2012-13 while Parks posted 37 stops but slipped to 10-7-1 on the year.
Saturday will see the Bobcats and Minotauros re-convene for a 7:35 PM rematch at Maysa Arena.
That series finale 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 7:05 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.