BISMARCK, ND – With a blizzard swirling outside the VFW Sports Center, it was the Bismarck Bobcats putting on a whitewash of their own in front of their home fans as they crushed the visiting Austin Bruins 5-0 Friday.
The win, combined with Owatonna’s 4-2 loss Friday at Aberdeen, pushes the Bobcats (16-8-1, 33 pts) back into first place ahead of the Express (14-10-4, 32 pts).
Goalie Ryan Faragher nailed down his second shutout of the year—both at the expense of the Bruins—behind 23 saves.
“The defense did a good job of letting me see every puck,” said Faragher, who earlier this week played for Top Prospects Tournament champion Team Weight. “A huge thing for the back end tonight was getting Charlie Aus back [from an arm injury]. He’s a great shot-blocker and always seems to settle everyone down on defense.”
The Bobcats offense took over twenty minutes to get started—after a scoreless first period—but found its groove mid-way through the second period. Dan Zawacki opened the scoring 7:19 into the middle frame, banging home a rebound after Sam Dougherty powered the puck through two Bruin defensemen to the front of the net.
Three and a half minutes later, Frank DeAugustine scored his third goal in two games, depositing a Bryce Schmitt centering feed past Austin goalie Keegan Asmundson to push the lead to 2-0 with 9:10 to go in the second.
In the third the home side hit the afterburners—Emerson Auvenshine tacked on some insurance 6:37 into the final frame, finishing a tic-tac-toe passing play from John Furgele and Brett Bower to make it 3-0 for the Cats.
Zawacki tacked on his second of the night off a centering feed from Dougherty and then Nick Miglio capped the scoring off at 5-0, banging home a Dan Kovar rebound in transition with 4:50 to go.
“Austin has gotten a lot better since we saw them in October,” noted Auvenshine, “so we knew we had to take them seriously tonight. We’ve had some trouble taking opponents lightly—especially Aberdeen—but we know there are four huge points on the line this weekend with the Christmas break right around the corner, so everyone came out ready to play tonight.”
Asmundson took the loss with 26 saves.
Faragher’s shutout marked his 15th win of 2010-11, tying him for tops in the NAHL in that category with Amarillo’s Nikifor Szczerba and Alaska’s Landon Peterson.
The Bobcats and Bruins will wrap up their two-game set Saturday with a 7:15 PM contest at the VFW Sports Center—the Bobcats’ last home game before the upcoming holiday break.
Saturday’s series finale 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