Bismarck, N.D. — The Bobcats (3-10-1) entered Saturday night’s match against St. Cloud (6-3) having allowed the 2nd-most goals per game in the North American Hockey League.
In front of a strong home crowd, those numbers didn’t seem to matter. Bismarck held on for a 2-1 win over the Norsemen, earning them three of a possible four points on the weekend.
Early in a tied third period, Adam Pietila took a centering pass from Isaac Novak. His shot from the slot struck goaltender Josh Langford before sneaking over the goal line inside the right post.
“The puck just popped out to me and I whacked it on goal,” Pietila said. “It trickled through somehow, I guess. Just good plays from my line mates going to work down low.”
Cats by a goal with 17:26 to play, a ton of time to hold a lead in any sport. All three of the team’s wins have required gutsy efforts, and Saturday’s topped all.
The Bobcats’ defense held a strong Norsemen offense at bay for the balance of regulation, which included two St. Cloud power plays in the final six minutes. The Cats found themselves in trouble when they went down 6-on-4 for the final 43 seconds of the third, but did not allow a shot on goal on the crucial kill.
“Everybody bought in towards the end,” Pietila said. “Everybody was eating pucks. Beacom, Shepler, it goes down the line, Forss had a good game.”
Chase Beacom leads the Bobcats in blocked shots. Erik Forss has been in goal for all three of the team’s wins, every one coming at home.
Bismarck gets a bye week before traveling to Mason City, Iowa to face the North Iowa Bulls on Friday, November 5 and Saturday, November 6. Both games will start at 7:30 p.m. and broadcast on HockeyTV and SuperTalk 1270.
Shots on goal: St. Cloud 31, Bismarck 26
Power plays: St. Cloud 0/2, Bismarck 0/5
St. Cloud Goal – Evan Murr from Chase Friermuth and Nate Warner, 11:00
Bismarck Goal – Brandon Reller from Calvin Hanson and Eddie Shepler, 13:40
Bismarck Goal – Adam Pietila from Isaac Novak and Paul Huglen, 2:34