Bitsakis, Bobcats Stifle Wings in Comeback Win
ABERDEEN, SD – After the Bismarck Bobcats fell behind late in the first period, goalie Alex Bitsakis turned aside 22 straight shots to help the Cats spoil the Aberdeen Wings' home opener with a 3-1 win Friday at Odde Ice Center.
With 5:03 left in the opening frame, center Ronnie Hein gave the homestanding Wings a 1-0 lead, grabbing a Michael Soucier rebound on the power play and popping it in before Bitsakis could recover.
Moments later, Bitsakis was bailed out by his own cage when a Collin Hughes transition redirect bounced off both pipes and harmlessly into the Montreal, Quebec, native's grasp for a whistle to keep it a one-goal game after one.
Bobcat forward J.M. Piotrowski dialed up an answer for the Cats on the other side of the first intermission, grabbing a Cullen Willox rebound on a broken play and whipping it past Aberdeen netminder Chad Catt 5:19 into the second period to knot the game at one.
That tie would persist until the 14:31 mark of the third, when Logan Rivard found a crease in the Wings defense and wristed a 24-footer that bounced off the right post and in past Catt for the visitors' first lead of the night at 2-1.
Bitsakis held the fort from there, stopping the next eight shots that came his way, while veteran Evan Giesler put the game on ice with an empty-netter in the final seven seconds of the game.
The goal came in Giesler's 100th game at the junior level.
With the win, Bitsakis improves to 2-1-0 on the season. Catt took his second loss behind 24 stops.
Now the Bobcats return home for Coors Light Opening Night as they host the Austin Bruins Saturday at 7:15pm at the VFW Sports Center.
Pregame coverage for Saturday's home opener will begin at 6:45pm locally on SuperTalk 1270, KLXX-AM, the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, and worldwide online at NAHL.FASTHockey.com, the official web television partner of the North American Hockey League.
With the 2014-15 season now here, demand for season tickets is at an all-time high; fans who want to lock in their seats for the entire campaign should call the Bobcat office at 222-3300 today!