Black and Gold on the Ceiling

Mar 15, 2012

ALEXANDRIA, MN – The Bismarck Bobcats are NAHL Central Division Regular Season Champions for the third time in four seasons after holding off the Alexandria Blizzard for a 3-2 shootout win Friday at the Runestone Center.

With the win the Bobcats have sealed home ice advantage through the entire Central Division Playoffs and have cemented a first-round Robertson Cup playoff date with the rival Aberdeen Wings. The Bobcats have also tied the franchise record for wins at 43 and points at 88—both previously set by the 2008-09 squad.

Adam Knochenmus got the Bobcats started with 3:25 left in the first period, grabbing an entry feed from Frank DeAugustine for a 1-on-1 break and using the Alexandria defender as a screen on goalie Jacob Meyers to rip home his 13th of the year to push the visitors ahead 1-0.

Donald Olivieri was the recipient of some good luck 7:44 into the second period when he looped a shot toward the Alexandria net that Meyers mis-played off his right knee, inadvertently deflecting the puck into his own cage to double the Cats’ lead to 2-0.

Alexandria picked up a little luck of their own late in the middle frame when neither Olivieri nor DeAugustine could gain firm control of a rolling puck in the defensive zone and Blizzard forward Aidan Cavallini grabbed up the miscue and fed a wide-open Justin Moody in front of the Bobcats’ net for an easy tap-in with 46 seconds left in the second and a 2-1 game after two.

Despite the Bobcats outshooting Alexandria 16-4 in an otherwise dominant third period, the Blizzard finished their comeback 12:27 into the final frame on the power play when captain Thomas Williams was able to beat Bobcat netminder Tommy Burke on a low shot inside the far post for a 2-2 tie.

The Bobcats came close on numerous attempts through the end of regulation and overtime, but could not finish the game before their seventh shootout of the year.

In the first three rounds of decisive shootout, the Bobcats’ John Furgele, Castan Sommer all came up empty while Burke denied Nick D’Avolio, Seth Ronsberg and Dylan Zink.

Dan Zawacki went five-hole past Meyers in the fourth round to boost the Cats to a 1-0 lead and Burke kept it right there by fighting off a move from Craig Lindegard.

Knochenmus, who came into the game a perfect 4-for-4 on the season in the shootout, was called on in the fifth round and did not disappoint, dekeing to his left and burying a low shot to deliver the Bobcats the win and the division.

Burke, who nailed down 21 saves on the way to his 30th win of 2011-12, went unblemished in the shootout for the second time this year.

Meyers was saddled with the loss, only his second after regulation, despite 30 saves.

Friday marked the Cats’ final regular season appearance at the Runestone Center, where they enjoyed a 4-2-0 record in six games after winning just one game at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in 2010-11.

The Bobcats and Blizzard are right back at it Saturday at the VFW Sports Center for a 7:15 PM rematch.

Saturday’s contest is the Bobcats’vthird annual St. Baldrick’s Night, when the team partners up with Basin Electric and the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to raise money to fight childhood cancer. The team will wear special edition green jerseys that will be auctioned off after the game with the proceeds going to St. Baldrick’s. In addition to the auction, Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie will get his head shaved at center ice during the first intermission and be joined in getting his head shaved by multiple players, including Dan Kovar and John Furgele.

The Bobcats have also announced that if they hit 900 followers on Twitter at, defenseman Rory Vesel will get his head shaved and if they hit 1,000 followers forward Shane Omdahl will join him in going chrome-dome. Buster Hebda, who was the first-ever winner of the NAHL’s Gongshow Hockey “Flow of the Month” award, pledged to shave his head if the Bobcats can crest the 5,000 follower mark on Twitter.

Saturday’s season series finale between the Bobcats and Blizzard 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 Pregame coverage gets under way at 6:45.

Season tickets are still available for the second half of the 2011-12 season—and going fast! Call the Bobcat Hockey office at (701) 222-3300 or email for more information on reserving a pro-rated package for the rest of the season!