BISMARCK, ND– After dropping nine of the last ten games, the Bismarck Bobcats had plenty of frustration to deal with.
Deal it they did, right onto the Minotauros over 20 minutes of dominance Saturday night.
The Bobcats scored four times, including short-handed and on the power play, and handily won a fight in the first frame, and demolished the Minot Minotauros 5-0 Saturday night at the VFW Sports Center.
Tyler Dunagan (Maple Grove, MN) flirted with a hat trick over the final two periods, scoring twice in the first. Nate Repensky (Duluth, MN) and Nathan Flynn (Hastings, MN) added even-strength goals, and Matt Perry (Lakeville, MN) brought the home crowd to a frenzy with the Bobcats’ eighth short-handed goal of the year.
Bismarck (30-21-5) built momentum toward the final four games of the regular season, facing the first-place Austin Bruins each of the next two weekends. Minot (22-31-3) secured the final playoff spot with Brookings loss to Aberdeen.
Erupting, ironically, took till the final seconds of a power play that spanned over six minutes of the first period. Minot’s Michael Louria took a high-sticking call at 4:08, and Scott Dornbrock earned a five-minute major for head contact on a hit on Cullen Willox at 5:46 to extend the man-advantage.
With time running out on the major, Chris Diver (Wilmington, DE) launched a wrist-shot into the slot, tipped by Stanislav Dzakhov (Moscow, Russia), then again by Dunagan for the first score at 10:32, just 14 seconds before the end of the power play.
Flood gates opened after the score.
Three minutes later, newly-acquired Alex Strand (Roseau, MN) won a draw with his skate blade, setting Repensky for a laser from just inside the blue line at 13:32. At 16:10, Dunagan tallied again, after Dzakhov and Filip Starzynski (Warsaw, Poland) each dropped a pass to the top of the slot, running the lead to 3-0.
Tempers then flared when Tony German (Bismarck, ND) was assessed a slashing call while pressuring Minot’s Tim Donohue. With accessories tossed to the ice, German landed two right hands, then three more monster haymakers after some clenching, causing the partisan crowd to roar.
The penalties led to a Minotauro power play, but it failed to slow the Bobcats. Ryan Callahan (Grafton, ND) pressured the puck in the right corner of the Minotauro zone, then crossed for Perry, who backhanded in the fourth goal of the period at 17:43, just 16 seconds after German won his altercation.
While the crowd reached a deafening pitch, Minot backstopper Merrick Madsen stared into the Minotauro bench, but was left on the ice.
Flynn would zip one more by Madsen early in the second, a wrister from the right circle that evaded Madsen’s glove hand. Madsen again looked to the bench, but again remained in the game.
From that point, the game centered on Bobcat backup goalie Scott Albertoni (Arvada, CO). While he faced just 13 shots, some were high-quality chances. Making his first back-to-back starts of his career, he also first career shutout.
The Bobcats travel to Austin next weekend, beginning four straight with the Bruins to end the regular season. The game will be broadcast on SuperTalk 1270 and on Fast Hockey, with links to both at www.bismarckbobcats.com.