AUSTIN, MINN.–The Bismarck Bobcats began the final ten-game sprint with a 3-2 shootout win against the Austin Bruins at Riverside Arena on Friday.
The victory snapped a three-game losing streak. It is Bismarck’s second straight victory in Austin, both by a one-goal margin.
Nick Baer crashed the net on a two-on-one rush to open the scoring for Bismarck less than five minutes into the first period. Logan Valkama gave the ‘Cats their second goal with a right circle wrist shot midway through the second period. Both teams led at one point, but neither side led by multiple goals.
“I think it was a fairly good effort overall,” head coach Layne Sedevie said. “We got better as the game went on, that is for sure. We executed our systems pretty well and found a way to get two points.”
The third period and overtime both came and went with neither team scoring, despite multiple high-danger chances. In the shootout, Bismarck’s Evan Hunter and Vertti Jantunen each scored. Austin failed to score on either of their two opportunities against Linards Lipskis, who stopped 29 out of 31 shots to earn the win.
Austin always presents a stiff test for opposing offenses, and the Bobcats performed well. The Bruins only recorded five more shots on goal, but Bismarck set up in the offensive zone more effectively than in previous matchups.
“When we needed to move the puck, we moved the puck,” Sedevie said. “When we had time and space and used our speed, I thought we did a decent job doing that. This is a (Bruins) team that defends better than anybody in our division.”
Sedevie also complimented his team’s neutral zone and defensive effort, which prevented Austin from having a dominant offensive output.
After winning a tightly contested game on the road, the Bobcats go for a series sweep against the central division’s top team Saturday night at 7:05 p.m.
The Bismarck Bobcats are home on Friday, March 24 and Saturday, March 25 against the Aberdeen Wings. Friday’s game is the Bobcats’ annual Brave the Shave night, sponsored by Sand Creek Corporation. Members of the team and staff will shave their hair in recognizance of childhood cancer in North Dakota. Fans can purchase tickets at tickets.bismarckbobcats.com or by calling the office at 222-3300.