BISMARCK, ND–The ever tight race in the NAHL Central Division heats up in Bismarck again Friday night, when the Aberdeen Wings visit the Bismarck Bobcats.
After a weekend sweep of Brookings last weekend, the Bobcats enter play in a tie for first place with Austin, each with 45 points. Aberdeen is just a point off the pace at 44. The situation was the same when the teams last met, on New Year’s Day, and the Bobcats were pushed from first to third place after a 2-1 loss.
“It’s been a while since we’ve seen a race this tight,” remarked Bobcat head coach Layne Sedevie. “Every game has it’s own importance right now.”
Bismarck played some of it’s most impressive hockey of the season Saturday night, fighting back from a 2-0 deficit after one for a 4-2 win at Brookings that secured a weekend sweep on the road. Aberdeen split with division-leader Austin last weekend, landing the division right back where it was on the last day of 2013.
Only one game of the eight played between the Bobcats and Wings has been decided by more than one goal, a 4-2 Bobcat win at Aberdeen on November 23rd.
But Aberdeen has some bragging rights as Friday approaches. The Wings have taken the last two meetings, both in Bismarck. Following the New Year’s Eve tilt, both teams are 4-3-1 in the series, and each have nine points in the race for the Titan Machinery Dakota Cup.
Huba Sekesi (Munich, Germany), Filip Starzynski (Warsaw, Poland) and Evan Giesler (Naperville, IL) each have six points against the Wings this season. Aaron Nelson (Bismarck, ND) has netminder numbers a bit higher than his season average, with a 2.69 goals against average and a .914 saves percentage.
Goaltender Chad Catt and forward TJ Roo have been the power behind Aberdeen’s success in the series. Catt has recorded a .950 saves percentage and a 2.09 goals against average in four starts against the Bobcats, winning three. Roo has four goals and six assists for 10 points in the series, over a third of his total season production.
Faceoff is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. Friday night. Tickets are still available at 222-3300 or online at www.bismarckbobcats.com. The Bobcats host Brookings Saturday, with faceoff also scheduled for 7:15 p.m.