BISMARCK, N.D.–The Bismarck Bobcats used a 5-0 start, a timely power play, and solid goaltending to defeat the Minot Minotauros 6-3 at the VFW Sports Center on Saturday.
In a similar beginning to the Cats’ 8-1 victory against Minot in November, their first goal came before the Tauros could even record a shot. Alexander Palchik sniped a shot from the left wing 6:02 in. On Teddy Bear Toss night, fans covered much of the ice with the fluffy critters in celebration.
The delay did not cause the Bobcats to lose momentum. After killing off a penalty and denying multiple Minot chances, Brandon Reller scored for a 2-0 first intermission lead.
Drew Holt, on a crafty assist from Adam Pietila, snuck a one-timer past to make it 3-0 in the second period. Alexander Palchik and Evan Hunter tacked on two more in the third, and the Bobcats led 5-0 with ten minutes remaining in regulation.
“I thought we got the puck to the interior of the ice,” head coach Layne Sedevie said. “(We) got good looks and moved our feet. When you do that, make hard plays, throw a little hockey sense in there, good things happen. I was happy with our effort. It feels good to get two points.”
The two points did not come without a scare, however. The Bobcats noticeably eased up after taking their 5-0 lead, and Minot took advantage. The Tauros struck three consecutive times in a span of 3:01. Suddenly, Bismarck led by just two with seven minutes to play.
After the third Minot goal, the Cats woke back up and used a timely power play to their advantage. Adam Pietila redirected Vertti Jantunen’s cross-ice shot for his ninth goal of the season, and the final tally of a 6-3 contest.
“It does not matter who you play, nobody is going to quit,” Sedevie said. “Hopefully it was one for the memory bank. At the end of the day, we had to get two points and whether it was 2-1 or 6-3, it does not matter, we got two points.”
It was difficult to get a sense of how the Bobcats would come out in this game with the team having not played–and mostly traveled home to see their families–last weekend. In their first game in 14 days, there did not seem to be any rust whatsoever.
“The big thing all week was making sure we had effort,” Sedevie said. “I thought we used our speed and moved our feet. When we do that, we are effective.”
Hunter Garvey made 27 saves on 30 Minot shots for his third victory as a Bobcat. Six different Bobcats recorded multiple points, with Palchik’s two goals leading the way. Calvin Hanson picked up his 50th career NAHL point with an assist in the third period.
With the league-wide holiday break effectively ending the ‘first half’ of the season, the Bobcats hold a record of 11-12-3 and have won four of their last seven games. The Bismarck-Minot series restarts right away with three consecutive days of hockey before the New Year. The Bobcats travel to Minot on Thursday, December 29 and Friday, December 30, before hosting the Minotauros on New Year’s Eve.
Tickets are on sale now for the traditional New Year’s Eve clash between the Bobcats and Tauros at tickets.bismarckbobcats.com. From all of us at the Bismarck Bobcats, Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas.