WENATCHEE, WA – The Bismarck Bobcats got off to a red-hot start and rode a smothering defense to a dominating 6-1 win over the Traverse City North Stars Thursday in Game Two of the 2010 Robertson Cup Tournament.
The win improves the Bobcats to 2-0 in the five-team round robin and pushes them into a first-place tie with the Fairbanks Ice Dogs atop the standings; both the Bobcats and Ice Dogs sit one win away from Sunday’s national championship game with St. Louis, Traverse City and Wenatchee all two games back in the loss column.
Blueliner Dan Weissenhofer got the ‘Cats on the board just 2:12 into the game, bombing a low slap shot off North Stars netminder Chris Paliafito and into the net for a quick 1-0 lead.
Gavin Hartzog followed suit 6:31 later, splitting the Traverse City defense to collect a long clear-in before tapping a backhander over Paliafito to extend the lead to 2-0 less than nine minutes into the game.
Regular season goals leader Ryan Jacobson capped the Bobcats’ three-goal first, rifling a transition snap shot off Paliafito’s blocker and in, making it a 3-0 game.
Nick Jensen continued the scoring spree in the second, notching the team’s second power play goal with a one-time blast into the top corner of the Traverse City net to push the lead to 4-0 4:52 into the middle frame.
Nine and a half minutes later, Jason Fabian capped the Bobcats’ five-goal spree on the power play, redirecting a Casey Kleisinger shot over Paliafito for a 5-0 edge with 5:47 left in the second.
The Bobcat power play finished the night 3-for-6 after going 3-for-9 in Tuesday’s opener against St. Louis.
Doug Clifford got the North Stars on the board 1:36 after Fabian’s goal, cashing in a back-door feed from Kyle Jean on a 2-on-1, spoiling Bobcat goalie Ryan Faragher’s shutout bid with 4:11 to go in the middle stanza.
Kleisinger closed out the scoring 12:38 into the final frame, unloading a bar-down slapshot that beat Paliafito high glove to give the game its final 6-1 margin.
The Bobcats have outscored their opposition 11-4 in two games.
Faragher made 20 saves to improve to 4-0 in the 2010 playoffs and 2-0 at the Robertson Cup Tournament.
Paliafito took the loss, making 24 saves but falling to 1-1 at nationals.
The Bobcats continue round robin play Friday against the President’s Award-winning Wenatchee Wild at 9:05 PM (Central Time). The Wild are currently 0-2 in the Robertson Cup Tournament and will have their backs to the wall, as a loss would eliminate the host team.
Bobcat fans in Bismarck are encouraged to attend Friday’s 9:00 PM viewing party at Reza’s Pitch on the corner of 3rd St. and Front St. to watch the game live on the big screens and cheer on the ‘Cats in their quest for their first ever Robertson Cup!
The entire Robertson Cup Tournament will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270, KLXX-AM, and worldwide at BismarckBobcats.com via B2 Networks. Friday’s pre-game show gets underway at 8:35 PM.