BISMARCK, N.D. — Timeliness played a role in deciding all four games between the Bismarck Bobcats (5-14-1) and Aberdeen Wings (10-9-1). A series split last weekend set the stage for yet another stalemate in the second leg.
The Bobcats condensed a game’s worth of offense into seven minutes in a 5-4 win on Friday. From 5:16 to 12:15 of the second period, Bismarck scored five goals, turning a 2-0 deficit into a 5-2 lead at the Odde Ice Center in Aberdeen. Quinn Rudrud started the run with two goals in fifteen seconds. Eddie Shepler gave his team the lead 23 seconds later, and insurance scores from Paul Huglen and Owen Michaels meant Bismarck could take the ice for the final period with a comfortable three-goal lead.
Timely scoring gave way to timely defense in the third. Aberdeen struck twice in the opening four minutes, meaning the Bobcats had to protect a one-goal lead for the last 16:10. Despite 16 shots against them in the period, the Bismarck penalty kill and shot blocking did not fold.
Saturday’s series finale in Bismarck saw Aberdeen again hold a 2-0 second-period lead. Rudrud’s third goal of the series cut the lead in half entering the third. Enter timely scoring for Aberdeen.
The Wings scored three times on only seven shots in the period against Ben Behrens, who made his Bobcats debut at 17 years old. Two late goals from Adam Pietila and Jake McLean brought the Bobcats closer, but out of reach with a 5-3 final. Of note: Bismarck hit the inside of two posts in the game.
While they did not gain ground on Aberdeen in the standings, the Bobcats enter the upcoming three-game week having won their first two road games, as well as back-to-back wins for the first time this season.
The visiting team won all four games in the series.
Friday’s game is the first time the Bobcats have scored five goals in a single period, accounting for all of their scoring for the game, since March 11, 2017 at Austin.
Hot streaks stayed hot for the Bobcats’ second line. Quinn Rudrud has scored in five straight games, and is averaging a goal per night over his last eight games. Jake McLean’s point streak stands at six games (1-9–10). His 16 assists is tied for 11th in the NAHL. Calvin Hanson, the Cats’ leading scorer in October, has points in seven of the last eight as well.
Erik Forss’ 37 saves on Friday mark a new career-high for the 20-year-old goaltender.
Wednesday @ Minot, 6:05
Friday and Saturday vs. St. Cloud, 7:15