Bobcats and Wings Set to Retry 2011 Opener

BISMARCK, ND – One week after inclement weather postponed their second half-opening series, the Bismarck Bobcats and Aberdeen Wings will get 2011 play underway with a home-and-home series starting Friday at the VFW Sports Center.

A snow storm that sacked the upper midwest in the days leading up to the New Year led to the cancellation of games last Thursday and Saturday, causing an extended holiday break for the Dakotas’ NAHL representatives.

“Everyone was really deflated when we got the news [of the cancellation] during Thursday’s game day skate,” admitted Bobcats defenseman Dan Kovar. “Some of us even thought it was a joke, but it’s been a blessing in disguise; the extra week of practice has helped everyone get back in top physical form after the week off for Christmas.”

The Bobcats (19-8-1, 39 pts) will need to make the most of their extra practice, as their unexpectedly idle weekend allowed other Central Division contenders to close ground—the Coulee Region Chill (18-9-3, 39 pts) have pulled into a first-place tie with the Cats and the Owatonna Express (17-12-4, 38 pts) are back within one point of the defending champs.

Two new faces will be on the roster as the Bobcats look to reclaim sole possession of first place, as Bismarck added depth by acquiring former Alexandria goalie Alex Fons and former Austin forward Mike Fazio during their time off.

“Fons and Fazio are guys we’ve had our eyes on for awhile now,” noted Bobcats head coach Layne Sedevie. “Alex was very high on our draft board in May, but Doc [DelCastillo] and Alexandria got to him before us, so we’re really excited to be able to get him in here now.

“Mike came highly recommended to us by [Dubuque Fighting Saints assistant coach] Joe Coombs. When Joe talks, we listen, because he’s been responsible for putting us onto guys like [2010 Robertson Cup MVP] Casey Kleisinger, John Avino and Brett Bower.”

Aberdeen made waves with big move of their own, pulling the trigger on a blockbuster four-player trade, acquiring Port Huron’s leading scorer Louis Educate in exchange for James Rudi Pino, Maxwell Reavis and Mitch Sand.

Educate is currently ninth in the NAHL with 37 points on 17 goals and 20 assists.

The new faces on both sides will have to deal with the series’ usual suspects in net as NAHL wins leader Ryan Faragher (18 W) will man the crease for the Bobcats and league saves leader Hunter Leisner (882 SV) will get the call between the pipes for the Wings.

For only the second time all year, the Bobcats lead the Titan Machinery Dakota Cup—currently by a count of 8-7 thanks to a 4-3-0 record against their neighbors to the south. Both Friday’s 2011 lid-lifter at the VFW Sports Center and Saturday’s weekend finale in Aberdeen will begin at 7:15 PM CT.

The games will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270, KLXX-AM, and worldwide at Pre-game coverage will begin at 6:45 PM CT both nights.

Last weekend’s games have been rescheduled for Thursday, February 3rd, in Aberdeen and Thursday, March 10th, at the VFW Sports Center.

Season tickets are now on sale for the 2010-11 season! Call the Bobcat Hockey office at (701) 222-3300 or email for more information on reserving your seats for the entire season as the Bobcats look to defend the Robertson Cup!