OWATONNA, MN – The top spot in the Central Division at the halfway mark of the 2010-11 season will be up for grabs as the Bismarck Bobcats travel to southern Minnesota to take on the Owatonna Express in a two-game series Friday and Saturday at the Four Seasons Centre.
The Bobcats (17-8-1, 35 pts) sit one point ahead of the Express (15-10-4, 34 pts) for first place in the Central Division heading into the holiday break.
“We may have a few games in hand on Owatonna, but we’re not paying much attention to that,” said Bobcats defenseman Tom Rizzardo. “We want to put some distance between us and them in the standings and keep pace with the rest of the league, too.”
Owatonna is 4-2-0 in six games since suffering a sweep at the hands of the Bobcats at the VFW Sports Center on November 19-20—thanks in large part to the hot goaltending of Charlie Williams, who has gone 3-1-0 in that span with a shutout.
On the other side, the Bobcats are 10-2-0 in their last 12 games but find themselves in a first-place dogfight with Owatonna, as the Express have played three more games over the past two months—winning all three extra games—to hang tough near the top of the Central.
According to Bobcats head coach Layne Sedevie, focus and preparedness will be central to the team’s success at Four Seasons.
“Owatonna is a deep, well-coached team, and you know they’ll be coming out hungry this weekend. When we come out ready to play—against anyone in our division—we can be pretty tough to beat, but we’ve struggled with urgency, even in Owatonna,” noted Sedevie.
“The other factor in being ready is being focused. The last time we were on the road [a 5-1 loss at Alexandria November 26] the guys had permission to go home for the long weekend and the focus just wasn’t there. So being focused on the two games and four points is something that has been addressed in practice Monday, addressed in practice Tuesday, addressed in practice Wednesday and addressed in practice [Thursday].”
Forward Nikolaj Rosenthal will be absent once again for the Bobcats, playing for his native Denmark at this month’s Division I World Junior Championships. Rosenthal is +1 with an assist as Team Denmark sits atop Group B at 3-0-0 with two games left in round-robin play.
The two-game set opens on Friday with an 8:00 PM puck drop between the Bobcats and Express. Saturday’s series finale will also have a special 8:00 PM start time.
Friday’s showdown will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270, KLXX-AM, and worldwide at http://nahl.fasthockey.com/. 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 email@example.com for more information on reserving your seats for the entire season as the Bobcats look to defend the Robertson Cup!
2010 ROBERTSON CUP CHAMPIONS