Bobcats Hang on 3-1 to Sweep Bruins

BISMARCK, ND – The Bismarck Bobcats hung tough through a 5-on-3 penalty kill, numerous fights and a freak glass-breaking accident to overcome the Austin Bruins 3-1 Saturday night at the VFW Sports Center, completing a two-game sweep of the visiting Bruins.

With the win, the Bobcats (17-8-1, 35 pts) stayed a point ahead of the Owatonna Express (15-10-4, 34 pts) for first place in the Central Division.

Matt Gates got the home side out of the chute quickly, slamming home a centering feed from Dan Zawacki just 1:01 into the game for a 1-0 Bobcat lead.

“What else can I say about that goal except it was an amazing pass from Danny,” said Gates, whose 24 points (12 G, 12 A) lead the Cats in scoring. “Our team is really in sync right now—it doesn’t matter who’s on which line, everyone is finding everyone else with great passes for nice chances.”

Tom Rizzardo made it a 2-0 Bobcats lead with 8:23 left in the first, threading a one-time shot between Austin goalie Eamon McAdam and the short post off a slot pass from Nick Miglio.

Austin pulled back into the game in the last minute of the first as Sam Olson deflected a power play shot from Christian Folin off Ryan Faragher and into the Bobcat net, chopping the lead to 2-1 with 55 seconds left in the opening frame.

After Olson’s second of the year, however, the goalies took over as McAdam and Faragher combined for 43 saves over the next 40 minutes of hockey.

Austin’s best chance to equalize came late in the second on a 5-on-3 power play that carried over into the third period, but the Bobcat 5-on-3 penalty killing unit of Emerson Auvenshine, Charlie Aus and Tom Rizzardo held the Bruins at bay, killing the penalty and altering the momentum of the final 18-plus minutes of the contest.

“We saw a similar situation [on Friday] when the guys killed off Seth Johnson’s five-minute major and never looked back,” noted Bobcats head coach Layne Sedevie. “Our guys worked hard and didn’t give Austin much to look at on that 5-on-3.”

The Bruins caught a break with 1:19 left in regulation, just seconds after Austin head coach Chris Tok burned his team’s lone timeout, when a pane of glass to the right of Faragher’s net became dislodged and needed roughly five minutes to repair.

Unfazed by the extended stoppage, the Bobcats came out of the delay flying and Auvenshine iced the game with 29 seconds left, firing a 50-foot shot into an empty Bruin net for the final 3-1 margin.

“That stoppage wasn’t easy on the heart for a coaching staff,” admitted Sedevie, “but we just told our guys that they couldn’t control circumstances like [the glass breaking], but they could control their own effort to finish the game.”

Faragher shut down 21 of 22 Austin shots on his way to his 16th win of the year. The Fort Frances, Ont., native made 44 of 45 saves on the weekend.

McAdam was the hard-luck loser, taking his second defeat of 2010-11 despite 37 saves on the night.

The Bobcats close out the first half of the season with a two-game series this weekend against the second-place Express at the Four Seasons Centre in Owatonna, Minn.

“There are four huge points on the line next weekend and we want to head into Christmas up two or more games on Owatonna,” said Gates. “It is, by far, the biggest series of the year for us.”

The two-game set opens on Friday with an 8:00 PM puck drop between the two long-time rivals.

Friday’s showdown will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270, KLXX-AM, and worldwide at As with all away games during the 2010-11 season, fans are encouraged to view the games each night at Reza’s Pitch—the official away game Home of the Bobcats—at the corner of Third and Front in Bismarck. Pre-game coverage will begin at 7:30 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!