ALEXANDRIA, MN — Following a five-goal Game One loss Friday, the Bismarck Bobcats circled the wagons and turned the tables on the Alexandria Blizzard, routing the top-seeded Blizzard 5-1 Saturday at the Runestone Center to tie the Central Division Semifinals 1-1.
\”Our goal was to come in [to Alexandria] this weekend and take home ice advantage,\” said Bobcats head coach Layne Sedevie, \”and that\’s exactly what we did tonight.\”
Special teams keyed the Bobcats\’ bounce-back, starting with 7:37 left in the first when John Furgele beamed a 40-foot shot through traffic on the power play and beat goalie Jake Williams low to the stick side for a 1-0 Bobcats lead.
The visiting Cats doubled the lead on Frank DeAugustine\’s first playoff tally 4:05 into the second period, crushing home a Bryce Schmitt rebound for a 2-0 edge.
Charlie Mosey pushed the advantage to 3-0, firing his own rebound past Williams while falling down with 11:48 left in the middle frame.
Danny Ray gave the Cats some big insurance with the team\’s second power play goal of the night, beaming a low slap shot past Williams on a 4-on-3 power play for a 4-0 score with 8:17 left in the frame.
Alexandria spoiled goalie Tommy Burke\’s shutout bid with 1:19 left in the second as Nardo Nagtzaam\’s point shot deflected off forward Reid Sturos and in to cut the lead to 4-1.
Chaos erupted late in the second as Blizzard forward Rock Einersen dropped his gloves and tackled Bobcat defenseman Donald Olivieri–who did not drop his gloves–triggering a line brawl. Einersen and Bobcat blueliner Jason Nash were given game ejections for the fracas while Bobcats Matt Gates and Nikolaj Rosenthal and Blizzard forwards Josh Gaughan and Craig Lindegard all received game misconducts.
The ejections, however, did not faze the Bobcats as Mosey put the game away 3:16 into third, stinging home a centering feed from Tyler Richter to post the Cats to a 5-1 lead.
Burke and the Bobcat defense took it from there, hitting and trapping the Blizzard to an offensive standstill through the final frame to snap their ten-game losing skid to Alexandria at an extremely opportune time.
\”Being able to recapture home ice is important for the flow of the playoffs,\” noted Richter, who finished with three assists on Saturday, \”but for us it was just as important to get the monkey off our back against Alexandria with a little momentum heading home [for Game Three].\”
Burke, who stopped all 20 shots he faced on Friday in relief, shut down 28 of 29 Blizzard efforts at net on Saturday to pick up his first win–regular season or playoffs–in a Bobcat uniform.
\”Our system tonight limited [Blizzard] offensively tonight and kept all the shots to the outside,\” added Burke, whose playoff record is now 1-0. \”Our defense and backcheck took away a lot of their odd-man rushes, which made my job a lot easier.\”
Williams finished with 20 saves but fell to 1-1 in the 2011 postseason.
The Bobcats and Blizzard will reconvene for Game Three of the Central Division Semifinals Friday at the VFW Sports Center with a 7:15 PM scheduled start time.
Friday\’s home playoff opener 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 2011-12 season! Call the Bobcat Hockey office at (701) 222-3300 or email email@example.com for more information on reserving your seats for next season!
2010 ROBERTSON CUP CHAMPIONS