MASON CITY, IOWA–The Bismarck Bobcats, behind an eight-goal run spanning 30 minutes, blew out the North Iowa Bulls 8-1 at Mason City Arena on Saturday.
In a similar start as Friday’s overtime loss, the Bobcats’ first period was far from their best. North Iowa scored the first goal again on a power play in the first.
Once the Bobcats erased the 1-0 deficit, they never looked back. Brandon Reller deflected a Luke Roelofs point shot to tie the game at 1-1. It took until midway in the second period, but it set off a deluge of Bismarck offense.
Vertti Jantunen and Calvin Hanson added goals in the second period. Adam Pietila, Alexander Palchik, and Erik Atchison got on the sheet in the third. Hanson and Pietila finished with two goals each.
“We started moving the puck in the second,” head coach Layne Sedevie said. “In the third, we started using our speed and did not try to beat everybody one-on-one.”
10 of the Bobcats’ 12 dressed forwards recorded at least one point in the game. Six players finished with multiple points. Hanson and Atchison each had three. No Bobcats finished with a negative plus/minus rating, too.
“I think everybody (stood out),” Sedevie said. “I think we have a lot of guys who are fighting it … Guys started ripping it, and hopefully tonight was good (for them.)”
The Bobcats’ special teams finished with a strong weekend as well. A 3-for-7 power play was a much-needed boost for that unit. The improving penalty kill may have had its best weekend yet, at 9-for-10.
Brandon Reller is one player who stood out in particular for Sedevie. Reller scored his first goal of the 2022-23 season, his second year with the club. In four games since coming back from a broken wrist, he has six points and has pointed in every game.
“I think he is finally back on track,” Sedevie said. “He was able to stay in shape … He is a big man, a huge, huge man, and he can skate for a big guy. I think him being able to practice with us for almost a month before he was cleared really helped him out.”
The goaltending, while not flashy, got the job done on the defensive end. In his first start in 15 days, Linards Lipskis stopped 27 of 28 shots to earn the win. Hunter Garvey had started the previous four games and played well in all four, giving fans a taste of what the goalie position might hold this year.
“(My job) is easier,” Sedevie said. “That is what you want, you want that confidence of no matter who you go with being able to give you a chance to win … I think it is a good problem to have.”
The Bobcats earned three out of a possible four points in Iowa. There are six points up for grabs this coming week, all against the Cats’ two biggest rivals. Bismarck hosts Minot for a Wednesday night game, then travels to Minot and Aberdeen after Thanksgiving. Tickets are on sale now at tickets.bismarckbobcats.com and on the free Bismarck Bobcats mobile app.