BISMARCK, ND – The Bismarck Bobcats tallied three unanswered goals Friday night in a come-from behind win, dumping the Owatonna Express 3-1 in front of a sellout crowd at the VFW Sports Center.
With 1,137 Bobcat fans rocking to start the game, it was the Express that scored first as Owatonna forward Brian McGinty grabbed a blocked shot off a broken play and fired a wrist shot over a sprawled out Ryan Faragher 7:38 into the first period for a 1-0 Express lead.
The lead stood up through the end of the opening frame, but the Bobcat defense clamped down and held the Express scoreless on just 15 shots the rest of the way.
“The ‘D’ definitely made things a lot easier out there after the first period,” said Faragher, who picked up his league-best 16th win on 25 saves Friday, “net-front chances turned into long shots from the boards and my guys did a great job clearing any rebounds from the front. When that’s happening, it makes my job a lot simpler back there [in net].”
The home side drew even 6:52 into the second period when red-hot Bobcats forward Dominic Panetta notched his fourth goal in the last three games, slamming home a Tim Serratore centering feed just seconds after a Bismarck power play had expired for a 1-1 tie.
With time winding down in the second, Brett Bower put the Bobcats up for good with a power play redirect of a Jason Fabian transition feed over Owatonna goalie Matt Hemingway. Bower’s second score of the year gave the ‘Cats a 2-1 edge with just 1:11 left in the second.
Bower got a chance Friday to play on a line with Fabian and Nick Jensen, the Bobcats’ leading and sixth leading scorers, respectively.
“Playing out there with Jason and Nick is great because they create so many scoring chances for everyone out there with them,” said Bower. “We’ve been working on going hard to the net this week so I got to the middle on that rush and Jason found me with a great pass.”
Bobcat center Trent Johnson capped the extended Bismarck rally with 4:05 left in regulation, wiring a 35-foot slap shot through traffic and past Hemingway for the final margin of 3-1.
Following Johnson’s sixth goal of the year, the Express lost their composure, earning 24 penalty minutes in the final 4:05 to help the Bobcats cruise to the two-goal victory.
Hemingway made 27 saves but suffered his first loss since joining the Express at Christmastime, falling to 2-1-0 with Owatonna.
The win extends the Bobcats’ (22-8-6, 50 pts) Central Division lead over the Express (17-12-3, 37 pts) to a season-best 14 points.
The Bobcats and Express wrap up their two-game series on Saturday with a 7:15 PM contest at the VFW Sports Center.
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 6:45 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.