ST. CLOUD, MINN.–The Bismarck Bobcats’ 25th anniversary season may not have ended with a win, but it featured a staple of one of the most memorable seasons in the organization’s history. Despite being down in an elimination game, the Bobcats did not give up through the final horn.
A pair of third period goals from Owen Michaels and Nico Chmelevski pulled Bismarck to within a goal, but the 3-2 final score stood at the end. St. Cloud moves on to the second round with a five-game series victory.
Oskar Spinnars Nordin’s 33rd consecutive start, a Bobcat record, was among his toughest challenges. A 43-save performance, the most he has faced in a regulation game, brought his playoff total to 217 stops in five games. His 2.07 goals against average and .948 save percentage are in the top five of all NAHL goaltenders this postseason.
The 2021-22 season brought as many, if not more, memories as any other year in the Bobcats’ existence. A group that began the year as youthful and inexperienced–the fourth-youngest team in the league–ended it as one of the most feared. Three wins in their first 17 games became 29 wins at the finish.
The Bobcats’ 20-9-1 second half concluded with the greatest playoff push Bismarck has ever seen. Needing five consecutive wins to close the season, the Bobcats pulled each one off in various fashions. A 5-1 victory in Minot on the final day of the regular season, the first winner-take-all contest in either team’s history, officially lifted the once-doomed Bobcats off the deck.
Spinnars Nordin brought calm to a dire early-season goaltending situation. Layne Sedevie elected to clean house at the position in November. What started with an email to Bobcats’ owner Thom Brigl turned into an all-time great run between the pipes for the Swede.
Of course, the development of a young group came a long way from September to May. Following the USHL preseason, the Bobcats did not undergo roster overhauls aside from the goaltending. The club made no trade deadline acquisitions, unlike the majority of teams in the central division. Bismarck’s offense, led by Jake McLean’s 56 points and Quinn Rudrud’s 30 goals, finished in the top ten league-wide. A defense with only one member over the age of 19 steadied dramatically in the second half.
Work for the 2022-23 season begins shortly. Pre-draft and main camps are set to take place in the coming months, along with schedule releases and ticket package information for the upcoming year. Stay tuned to our website and social media pages for updates.