BISMARCK, ND – The Bismarck Bobcats sprang out to a big 5-1 lead and cruised home to a 5-2 win over the visiting Alexandria Blizzard to regain a five-point lead in the Central Division standings Saturday.
Jason Fabian had the big night for the home side, scoring three straight Bobcat goals to record the team’s first hat trick.
“That was actually my first hat trick at the junior level [Saturday night],” said Fabian of the accomplishment. “They weren’t really the prettiest goals and Nick Jensen made a couple outstanding plays to set things up. Still, it’s a pretty great feeling.”
The Air Force recruit opened the scoring 4:21 into the opening frame, taking two swipes at a Nick Jensen centering feed before batting home his own rebound past Alexandria netminder Robert Tadazak to install the ‘Cats to an early 1-0 lead.
The Blizzard battled right back three minutes later when forward Simon Cederborg-Nilsson snuck behind the Bobcat defense on a delayed penalty call and beat goalie Ryan Faragher to tie the game 1-1.
Fabian answered for the Bobcats with 5:52 left in the first, deflecting a Sam Rendle shot in traffic past Tadazak to put the ‘Cats back up 2-1.
The Roseau, Minn., native struck again 5:46 into the second period, slapping in a Jensen rebound for a 3-1 Bobcat league.
“I was pretty happy about that goal,” added Fabian, “and not just for the hat trick—we were all pretty excited to not have another 2-1 game against those guys.”
The previous four Bobcats-Blizzard contests had all ended with 2-1 scores.
The Bobcat rally was not over, though, as center Trent Johnson redirected a Bryce Schmitt centering feed over the leg pad of relief goalie Chris Kamal to put the home team up 4-1 with 10:05 left in the second.
Defenseman Tom McCarthy, acquired last week in a trade with the USHL’s Fargo Force, capped the Bobcat scoring with 6:39 left in the second on the power play, turning an Alexandria turnover into a five-hole stuff past Kamal for a 5-1 Bobcat edge.
“It was pretty nice to get my first goal here in Bismarck,” said McCarthy. “It’s definitely good to be able to be productive out there when the offense is clicking like it was [Saturday].”
The Blizzard struck for one last goal with 3:22 remaining in the second as Kyle Clay’s transition wrister deflected off a Bobcat defender and past Faragher’s glove to cut the lead to 5-2.
Both defenses hunkered down for the final 20-plus minutes, giving the Bobcats the 5-2 victory, their seventh in as many games over the fourth-place Blizzard.
Faragher shut down 25 of 27 Blizzard attempts to improve to 9-3-5 on the 2009-10 season.
Tadazak took the loss in net, stopping just 5 of 8 Bobcat shots before being lifted for Kamal, who made nine saves on the night.
The Bobcats return to action on Friday with a 7:30 PM road tilt with the Albert Lea Thunder, winners of two of their last three games.
The game will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270, KLXX-AM, and worldwide at BismarckBobcats.com via B2 Networks. The pre-game show starts at 7:00 PM.
You won\’t want to miss any of the games this season, so order your Season Tickets, Family Packs and Group Nights today by calling the Bobcat Hockey Office at 701-222-3300 or by e-mailing the office for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.