BISMARCK, ND–Its a "Clash of the Titans" at the VFW Sports Center this weekend, as the Bismarck Bobcats host the Fairbanks Ice Dogs in a pair of matchups Friday and Saturday night, followed by Aberdeen making the trip to Bismarck New Year’s Eve.
Bismarck came up short of a sweep of Aberdeen last weekend, topping the Wings 5-4 on the road Friday, but falling 3-2 at home Saturday, their first loss in regulation at home this season.
The loss came with the Bobcats missing a few pieces of their team. Two of those key pieces are back, as Filip Starzynski (Warsaw, Poland), the team’s leading scorer, returns after a four-game absence. Ryan Callahan (Grafton, ND) missed Saturday’s game with an infraction stemming from Friday’s affair in Aberdeen. Both will be back tonight.
Despite the Bobcats being wracked with injury, they managed to add 16 points to their standing in the NAHL Central Division over the last 10 games. They have the fourth best points percentage () in the league, and are in second place by two points to the Austin Bruins.
Enter the Ice Dogs, who lead the NAHL Midwest Division with 42 points and a 21-8 record, along with owning the best points percentage in the league (.724). The Ice Dogs are led by a pair of Fairbanks natives, Tayler Munson (10 goals, 15 assists, 25 points) and Colton Wolter (8 goals, 17 assists, 25 points).
Starzynski has 12 goals and 16 assists, with Nate Repensky (Duluth, MN) adding 4 goals and 24 assists, each player owning a share of the team’s scoring lead with 28 points.
The netminder battle will be tight this weekend. Bobcat goalie Aaron Nelson (Bismarck, ND) enters the weeeknd with a .924 saves percentage and a 2.12 goals against average, ninth-best in the NAHL. Kevin Aldridge (Beverly Hills, MI), the top Ice Dog backstopper, is 10th in the league in goals against at 2.14, with a 91.2 saves percentage.
Faceoff is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. both Friday and Saturday. New Year’s Eve brings the Aberdeen Wings to town, also with a 7:15 p.m. faceoff. Tickets are still available by phone at 222-3300 or online at www.bismarckbobcats.com.