Blasting out of the Gates

BLAINE, MN – The Bismarck Bobcats jump-started the 2011-12 regular season with a commanding 7-3 win over the New Mexico Mustangs Wednesday at the Combat Hockey NAHL Showcase.

“We’re happy to get a win any way we can get it,” noted Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, “but we also know that there are things to work on for tomorrow with Alaska. Luckily they’re more ‘teachable moments’ that we can use as good examples moving forward.”

The Bobcat attack got on track early when veteran forward Grant Mindt popped a Charlie Aus rebound past New Mexico goalie Lukas Hernandez 2:45 into the game for a fast 1-0 lead.

Second-year defenseman Donald Olivieri pushed the lead to 2-0 with 12:53 left in the first, collecting a long rebound from Dan Zawacki and scorching a rising shot over Hernandez’ glove for his first of the night.

“We wanted a good start offensively,” commented Mindt, who scored on his only shot of the night, “so being able to jump out with two quick goals really set the table and gave us a lot of confidence going forward.”

New Mexico, however, counter-punched 22 seconds into the second period when Nolan Valleau guided a rolling forehand lob through traffic and inside the far post of Tommy Burke’s net to chop the Bobcats lead to 2-1.

Frank DeAugustine pushed the lead right back to two goals 5:19 later, shelfing a backhander in traffic for a 3-1 Bobcat advantage.

Picture perfect back-door feeds from Shane Omdahl and Danny Ray keyed a late-period offensive outburst in the middle frame, setting up goals for Nikolaj Rosenthal and Castan Sommer, respectively, for a 5-1 lead for the Cats after 40 minutes.

Third-year veteran Bryce Schmitt pushed the lead to 6-1 one minute into the third, slashing through the slot and driving home a centering feed from Nick Miglio.

A see-saw affair followed Schmitt’s first of the year, as Mandan native Patrick Anderson registered a power play goal for the Mustangs, answered by a power play strike by Olivieri for his second of the night before New Mexico closed the evening’s scoring with a transition tally from New Mexico’s Jordan Boucher-Gould for the final 7-3 margin.

In all, the Bobcats finished a tidy 2-for-5 on the power play on opening night.

“The power play definitely had a rocky start,” commented Olivieri, who had nine power play goals in 2010-11, “but we cleaned it up after that and things started really clicking. The puck movement was great and the communication was key.”

Burke made 20 saves on the way to his first regular season victory while Hernandez stopped 27 shots on his way to an 0-1-0 record.

The Bobcats continue their Showcase schedule with a 4:30 PM Thursday start against the Alaska Avalanche followed by a 5:00 PM Friday matchup against the defending South Division Champion Amarillo Bulls. They’ll wrap up the Showcase with a 4:00 PM Saturday contest against the expansion Kalamazoo Junior K-Wings.

All four games will be broadcast local 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 will begin 30 minutes before the start of each game.

Season tickets are now on sale for the 2011-12 season—and going fast! Call the Bobcat Hockey office at (701) 222-3300 or email for more information on reserving your seats for the upcoming season!