BISMARCK, ND – The Bismarck Bobcats will open the 2010 Robertson Cup Playoffs Friday when they host the Albert Lea Thunder for Game One of the Central Division Semifinals at 7:15 PM at the VFW Sports Center.
The contest kicks off the second straight appearance in the postseason for the Bobcats; in 2008-09 the Bobcats advanced all the way to the Robertson Cup National Tournament.
“The veterans from last year’s team definitely feel like we have some unfinished business,” said Bobcats leading scorer Jason Fabian. “Our goal is to get back to nationals and win the Robertson Cup—and the first step to reaching that goal is getting past Albert Lea.”
During their 11-game season series, the Bobcats compiled a record of 8-2-1 against the Thunder, including a 5-0-1 mark at home against Albert Lea.
The Bobcats sealed up the top seed in the divisional playoffs courtesy of a 39-11-8 regular season mark while the Thunder earned the fourth and final playoff spot in the Central Division with a record of 19-34-5.
According to third-year Bobcat defenseman Devin Schmitt, onlookers shouldn’t read too much into the wide disparity in records between the two teams.
“What Albert Lea did early on this year really doesn’t mean much, to be honest,” said the Beaver Dam, Wisc., native of the Thunder’s 8-23-5 start. “That organization basically flushed the pipes heading into the second half of the season, bringing in talented players and staff members and turned everything around to make the playoffs.”
The Bobcats enter the playoffs on a four-game winning streak, including a two-game sweep of the Thunder to close out the regular season.
While Fabian’s 58 points led the Bobcats during the regular season, two of the hottest Bobcats heading into the playoffs are veterans Casey Kleisinger, with five goals and ten assists in his last 11 games, and Tim Serratore, who has recorded five goals and an assist in his last seven contests.
Between the pipes, the tandem of Ryan Faragher and Jake Williams have combined for a 33-7-7 record for the Bobcats with eight total shutouts (four each).
Albert Lea is led up front by former Bobcat Niko Kapetanovic’s 18 goals and 21 assists and Anthony Iaquinto’s 20 goals and 14 assists. In net, the Thunder will turn to Notre Dame recruit Joe Rogers; on the year Rogers is 13-19-2 with a 3.97 GAA and an .891 SV%.
Game Two of the best-of-five Central Division Semifinals will be Saturday at 7:15 PM at the VFW Sports Center.
Friday’s Robertson Cup Playoff opener 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.
Playoff tickets for the 2010 Robertson Cup Playoffs are available now for the Bobcats’ first-round series against the Thunder! You can reserve your postseason seats by calling the Bobcat Hockey Office at 701-222-3300, online at http://tickets.bismarckbobcats.com or by e-mailing the office for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.