Bobcats Edge Springfield 3-2

BLAINE, MN – The Bismarck Bobcats held off a furious rally from the Springfield Jr. Blues Thursday to win their second straight game to open the 2010-11 season by a score of 3-2 at the Sherbrook NAHL Showcase.

The Bobcats, for the second straight day, started the game red-hot as forward Cody Bisbing chased his own rebound through the pads of Springfield goalie Reid Mimmack and into the net just 1:51 into the contest to post the Cats to a 1-0 lead.

Just under nine minutes later, Cats forward Frank DeAugustine split two Jr. Blues defenders and strung a back-door feed to Emerson Auvenshine, who slapped it home for a 2-0 Bobcat edge with 9:11 left in the opening frame.

After the two teams emerged from the locker rooms following the first intermission, however, the game momentum swung as Springfield carried the play in the second period, culminating in Jr. Blues forward Ethan Nauman banging in a short one-time shot past Bobcat netminder Dan Harper with 4:12 left in the second.

One of the game’s decisive points came 44 seconds later, as head official Tommy Albindia ruled that a Bobcat defender had covered the puck in Harper’s crease which, under rule, led to an automatic penalty shot.

Veteran Springfield defenseman Jack Callahan got the nod for the penalty shot and, as he tried to deke to his left, caught the business end of a well-timed poke check from Harper that jarred the puck loose and kept it 2-1 Bobcats.

“Callahan pulled it wide right away and I was thinking poke check right away,” recalled Harper, who was playing in his hometown of Blaine, Minn., in his first junior game. “When he came back to my right it was the perfect time to get the stick in there.”

Unfortunately for the Bobcats, Harper’s heroics did not fully stem the tide of Springfield’s rally; just 4:10 into the third period, Jr. Blues blueliner Shayne McLaughlin corralled a Stuart Bell centering feed in the high slot of the Bismarck end and scorched a high liner past Harper’s glove and in to force a 2-2 tie.

Six minutes later, with the Cats killing off a Nick Miglio roughing minor, Bobcat forward Trevor Landgraf drew two straight Springfield penalties, leading to a 5-on-3 power play. On that two-man advantage, Bobcat defender Tom Rizzardo beamed a high slapshot through traffic that beat a screened-out Mimmack to give the defending champs a 3-2 lead with 8:09 left in the third.

Harper stood tall the rest of the way—at one point shutting down three straight point-blank Jr. Blue opportunities—to preserve his first win of the season behind 26 saves.

“It was easy to see for anyone watching that we didn’t have our best effort in the second period,” admitted Bobcats head coach Layne Sedevie, “but we responded well. We competed much, much better in the third and it was a lesson well-learned for our guys: good things happen when you work hard and compete.”

Mimmack suffered the loss, stopping 29 of 32 Bobcat shots but falling to 0-1-0 on the new season.

The Cats continue Showcase play on Friday with a 1:15 PM matinee against the South Division’s Wichita Falls Wildcats at Schwan Super Rink.

The contest will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270, KLXX-AM, and worldwide at Pre-game coverage for the game will begin at 12:45 PM CT.

Season tickets are now on sale for the 2010-11 season! Call the Bobcat Hockey office at (701) 222-3300 or email for more information on reserving your seats for the entire season as the Bobcats look to defend the Robertson Cup!