BISMARCK, ND–After a roaring start at Brookings Saturday night, the Bismarck Bobcats hung on for their fourth-straight win with a 3-1 edge of the Blizzard.
Tony German (Bismarck, ND) put some ice on the tilt with a breakaway goal as the Bobcats (16-7-2) emerged from a penalty with 1:31 left to rebuild a two-goal margin after a furious effort Blizzard comeback.
Brookings (5-16-6) was outshot 33-17 through two periods, and fell behind 2-0 after Matt Anders (Lafayette, CO) knocked in a Tyler Dunagan (Maple Grove, MN pass at 9:04 of the third. Brandon Parker slapped in a shot from the right point a-minute-and-a-half later, cutting the Bobcat lead to run, as the Blizzard narrowed the shooting gap with 17-7 advantage in the third.
"We had one of our best starts of the year, but ran out of gas a bit later," said Bobcat head coach Layne Sedevie. We found a way go get opportunities, as our lines got a little stretched."
Depth did become an issue for the Bobcats, even with an abundance of forwards on the team. Already missing Seth Blair (Bismarck, ND), injured in last Saturday’s win over Austin, Bismarck made the trip without Joonas Huovinen (Oulu, Finland) due to illness.
With 54 seconds left of the second, the Bobcats would lose the services of leading goal-scorer Stanislav Dzakhov (Moscow, Russia), who was ruled a fight instigator in an exchange with Evan Hesse.
"I didn’t think it was an instigator situation," remarked Sedevie of Dzakhov’s ejection. "I’m glad he stood up for his teammate, when Filip (Starzynski) took a dirty hit. You usually have to jump a guy for an instigator, but both guys dropped their gloves."
Cullen Willox (Eagan, MN) recorded his 14th point in the last 14 games with a backhand to the top shelf on Brookings goalie Connor Girard at 16:33 of the first for the initial Bobcat lead of the night. After the second went scoreless, Dunagan worked in a four-on-four off the left wall, and hit Anders playing the left side of the slot. Anders beat the glove hand of Girard to push the lead to 2-0.
Parker scored on one of the rare moments when Bobcat netminder Aaron Nelson (Bismarck, ND) was out of position. Parker blasted from the right point, and sent the puck offline to the left corner. As the puck moved back around the zone, Nelson was caught to the left edge, and Parker wound up again from the right point and scored from long range, putting the game back in the balance.
The penalty bug then bit hard, as Nate Repensky (Duluth, MN) was called for a weak cross-check at 14:16. At 15:54, Ryan Callahan (Grafton, ND) was nabbed for a check from behind, leaving the Bobcats to kill 28 seconds of five-on-three. Sedevie chose to use Bismarck’s timeout.
"We needed to get the right guys on the ice. It was a five-on-three at a crucial point," said Sedevie.
Bismarck killed both penalties, and German took advantage of the return to full strength with a break on the right wing, firing a goal past Girard for the final score, adding the exclamation point to the Bobcats’ second-straight sweep.
The Bobcats travel to Minot Friday night, then host the Minotauros Saturday night.