BISMARCK, ND–In finishing a sweep of the Austin Bruins in Austin Saturday night, the Bobcats sent a clear, loud signal to the rest of the NAHL Central Division.
Bismarck routed the division’s first-place team, scoring seven goals in a 7-0 shutout of the Bruins at the Riverside.
Scoring that included a short-handed goal by Stanislav Dzakhov (Moscow, Russia), two power-play goals against the second-best penalty kill in the league, and four third-period markers were backstopped by 19 saves from Aaron Nelson (Bismarck, ND), who recorded his second shutout of the year, both against the Bruins.
"It was probably the most complete 60 minutes of effort we’ve had all season," said Bobcat head coach Layne Sedevie, whose team closed the gap with Austin for first place to one point. "The whole weekend, 120 minutes, we had great effort."
The rout erased memories of a November trip to Austin that saw the Bobcats shut out twice in a weekend, the first time they suffered consecutive shutouts in the NAHL era. Their return trip resulted in 11 goals for the weekend, and three power-play goals agasint a 91.4% Bruin penalty kill.
"Our power play is good when they share the puck," explained Sedevie. "That’s been their biggest problem this season, but they were terrific this weekend.
The power play started the scoring, with Huba Sekesi (Munich, Germany) ripping a one-timer on a pass from Chris Diver (Wilmington, DE) at 17:20 of the first for a 1-0 Bobcat lead.
Dzakhov scored the first of his goals to start scoring in the second. His shot from the top of the slot hit Austin goalie Dillon Kelley in the glove, but popped over his head. While Kelley struggled to locate it, the puck landed behind him and glided over the line at 15:07 to edge the lead to 2-0.
Dunagan notched a pretty top-shelf scoop off of a Dzakhov pass just moments later, at 18:48 of the third, a goal the decidedly turned all momentum to the Bobcats, as they exited the period with a 3-0 lead.
Bismarck then poured it on the third. Dunagan touched a one-timer past Kelley on a feed from Evan Giesler (Naperville, IL) for his third goal of the weekend at 8:28. Sekesi ripped a slapshot for a goal at 11:25. Dzakhov notched his second on a filthy backhander shorthanded at 15:06, and Gielser finished a Cullen Willox (Eagan, MN) feed at 16:56.
Dunagan and Sekesi each joined the 30-point club on the night. The Bobcats now have five 30-point scorers this season. Dzakhov reached 38 points to lead the Bobcats, with Nate Repensky (Duluth, MN) and Giesler also ahead of the 30-point mark.
The Bobcats finish a six-game road swing at Minot on Friday night, then finally return home on Saturday night to host the Minotauros. Tickets for Saturday night’s game are available at 222-3300 or online at www.bismarckbobcats.com.