BISMARCK, ND – The Bismarck Bobcats fell into an early deficit but rode a three-goal second period to a 4-2 victory Friday over the Albert Lea Thunder at the VFW Sports Center.
Trailing 1-0 after the first period, the Bobcats scored early and often in a second period that broke open the game in favor of the home side.
Sean McKenzie scored 2:20 into the middle frame, ripping a transition feed from Casey Kleisinger past Thunder netminder Joe Rogers to force a 1-1 tie.
Five minutes after McKenzie’s tally, Bobcat forward Nick Jensen notched his 10th goal of the season on the power play, blistering a one-time shot off a Sam Rendle back-door pass over Rogers to give the ‘Cats their first lead at 2-1 with 11:30 left in the second.
Jensen followed up the power play tally nearly eight minutes later when he found Jason Fabian in the high slot in front of a screened-out Rogers—Fabian used the screen from linemate Gavin Hartzog to beat the Albert Lea netminder over his glove for a 3-1 Bobcat lead, capping the rally with 3:32 left in the second.
“Nick really deserves all the credit on that goal,” said Fabian, who leads the Bobcats with 44 points on 17 goals and 27 assists, “he was working really hard in the corner and got me the puck in a great position to shoot.”
Albert Lea clawed their way back into the game 6:18 into the third when Thunder forward Anthony Iaquinto took a Bobcat defensive zone turnover and batted the puck over Bismarck goalie Jake Williams’ left leg pad to cut the Bobcats’ lead to 3-2.
Jensen, however, had the answer again for the Bobcats. Taking a clear-in from defenseman Dan Weissenhofer and weaving through the Thunder defense, the Danish forward whipped a wrist shot over the blocker of Rogers and in to put the game out of reach at 4-2 with just 1:56 left in regulation.
“After that first period we knew we had to dig deep and play a lot better,” said Jensen. “We stepped up the defense and the forecheck and things started clicking. We just need to find a way to turn that into 60 minutes of solid play—we can be pretty hard to stop when we play hard all game.”
Former Bobcat Nike Kapetanovic opened the scoring for Albert Lea, firing a centering feed from Sheldon Taylor past Williams with 6:37 left in the first, but the Thunder’s leading scorer was held off the scoresheet for the rest of the night.
Williams won his fourth straight decision, improving to 4-0-0 since joining the Bobcats in December and 6-4-0 overall on 21 saves. Rogers stopped 27 Bobcat efforts but dropped to 8-13-2 on the 2009-10 campaign.
The Bobcats and Thunder will wrap up their two-game series Saturday night at the VFW Sports Center with a 7:15 PM contest.
Saturday’s 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.