Balanced Attack Leads Bobcats to Opening Night Rout
BISMARCK, ND – The Bismarck Bobcats’ offense got seven goals from six different skaters Saturday and dug out of an early hole to run away with a 7-2 victory over the Aberdeen Wings on Coors Light Opening Night at the VFW Sports Center.
It was the visiting Wings who made an early statement, riding a wave of momentum mid-way through to first to a go-ahead goal from newcomer Carson Dimoff, who ripped home a one-timer from Kevin Fitzgerald with 10:31 to go in the period.
Sustained possession late in the opening stanza helped settled the Bobcats down, with an extended forecheck culminating in a patient backhander from blueliner Brandon Young at the 2:51 mark to even the score at one.
Special teams kept the offense flowing for the home side 7:23 into the middle frame when offseason acquisition Austin Junger used a screen to knuckle a point shot on the power play past Wings netminder Arrtu Kulmala to push the Cats ahead 2-1.
Just 0:32 later, another power play yielded a 3-1 lead when Bobcat co-captain Jared Resseguie redirected a Tobias Fladeby one-timer inside the left post on another power play.
Eight seconds into an Aberdeen power play, Nick Alexander sped behind the Wings’ defense to collect a Pieter von Steinbergs clear-out and cash in a short-handed tally through Kulmala’s five-hole to make it 4-1 Bobcats with 8:43 remaining in the second.
Aberdeen managed to get one back on that same man advantage 1:47 later when a Carter Roo no-look pass gave Tyler Bossert a wide-open net that the Fargo native did not miss, pulling the Wings back within two at 4-2.
Speed proved the difference in the third, as two transition goals from Parker Mismash and another by Zach Kennedy put the game out of reach for the final 7-2 count.
“We knew Aberdeen wasn’t going to quit, so we took what the coaches told us at [the second] intermission to heart and kept our foot on the gas pedal,” noted Mismash, who matched his entire goal output from 2015-16 on Saturday.
Goalie Will Ulrich turned in 35 saves—most notably a diving stop in the first while the game was scoreless—to win his Bobcat debut. Kulmala’s 21 stops weren’t enough to avoid the loss in his first NAHL start.
Season 20 of Bobcat Hockey continues Wednesday in Blaine, Minn., where the Cats open NAHL Showcase play against the South Division’s Lone Star Brahmas at 5:15pm.
Wednesday’s first-ever meeting between the Bobcats and Brahmas will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270 AM, and worldwide on FASTHockey.com–the web television partner of the North American Hockey League–with pregame coverage starting at 4:45pm.
Season tickets are now on sale for the Bobcats’ landmark platinum anniversary campaign: fans can get more information or reserve their seats for all of Season Twenty now by calling 222-3300.