MASON CITY, IOWA–The Bismarck Bobcats were down, but not out.
After trailing 3-1 in the third period to the North Iowa Bulls at Mason City Arena on Friday, the Bobcats notched a comeback. Drew Holt, with Calvin Hanson setting up a one-timer, scored a power play goal with 12:01 remaining in regulation. The next ten minutes passed with the Bobcats having to successfully kill two penalties.
A set faceoff play pulled Bismarck even. Brandon Reller won a draw cleanly back to Michael Neumeier. After immediately faking a slapshot, the Bobcats’ best offensive defenseman passed over to an open Luke Roelofs. Seeing the wide side of the net open, Roelofs picked the top-left corner of the goal with a quick wrist shot. The game-tying strike came with an empty net and only 1:16 to spare.
Roelofs’ goal earned the Bobcats a point, but not the second. North Iowa’s Logan Dombrowsky scored nearly two minutes into sudden-death overtime and clinched a 4-3 Bulls victory.
The game did not start as auspiciously as any Bobcats would have wanted. North Iowa nearly doubled them in shots, and multiple unforced Bobcats errors ended up with the Bulls jumping out in front, 2-0. In the second and third periods, Bismarck controlled the majority of play, outshooting North Iowa 24-6 over those 40 minutes.
“We started working,” head coach Layne Sedevie said. “Even our small guys, like (Evan) Hunter and (Julian) Beaumont, they are winning battles … We started winning battles, winning races, and look at the chances we had.”
While it was not the full 60-minute effort every coach hopes for, the Bobcats showed great resolve from the second period onwards. Hunter Garvey played well in his return to North Iowa. The veteran goaltender stopped 30 of 33 shots in his first away game at Mason City Arena. Garvey played 41 games as the Bulls’ number-one goalie last season.
With the Bobcats picking up a point, they have the opportunity to win the weekend series with two points on Saturday night. Game two of the series starts at 7:10 from Mason City. Live coverage begins at 7:00 on SuperTalk 1270 and HockeyTV.