MINOT, ND — The Bismarck Bobcats thrilled a standing-room-only crowd at Maysa Arena in Minot on Thursday as they downed the Aberdeen Wings 4-2 in a North American Hockey League exhibition tilt.
Designed to increase the league's popularity in the northern reaches of North Dakota, the game's proceeds also benefited Minot Youth Hockey.
It was the designated visitors from South Dakota who struck first, however, 4:27 into the contest when Tyler Underhill collected a fortuitous bounce on the power play off Bobcats goalie Tommy Burke and fired it into an open net to boost the Wings to a fast 1-0 lead.
The Bobcats responded in the second period with a pair of unanswered goals, first on the power play from Matt Gates and then with just 1:51 left in the middle frame when Sam Dougherty deflected a 40-foot shot from Gates past Wings netminder Jordan Lehr to push the Cats into a 2-1 lead after two periods.
Aberdeen evened it just 1:15 into the final frame when Maxwell Reavis deflected a bad-angle shot off Burke and into the net for a 2-2 score.
Forward Frank DeAugustine took over the game quickly thereafter for the Bobcats, scoring first on a breakaway after Tom Rizzardo sprung him past the Aberdeen defense and then again on a 3-on-2 when he swatted home a Gates rebound past Lehr for some late insurance and the final 4-2 count.
Burke stopped 17 shots in his first start in black and gold and gave the Bobcat penalty kill a big boost in third with eight saves against the Aberdeen power play. Bismarck killed off eight of nine Wings power plays on the night.
The Bobcats and Wings return to regular season action Friday night for a 7:15 PM contest at the VFW Sports Center in Bismarck.
Friday's divisional tilt will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270, KLXX-AM, and worldwide at http://nahl.fasthockey.com/. Pre-game coverage will begin at 6:45 PM CT.
Season tickets are now on sale for the 2010-11 season! Call the Bobcat Hockey office at (701) 222-3300 or email email@example.com for more information on reserving your seats for the entire season as the Bobcats look to defend the Robertson Cup!
2010 ROBERTSON CUP CHAMPIONS