ALBERT LEA, MN – The Bismarck Bobcats salvaged a weekend split with the Albert Lea Thunder in resounding fashion Saturday, riding a five-goal third period to a 7-0 clubbing of the Thunder at Albert Lea Arena.
Ryan Faragher stopped 32 shots en route to his fourth shutout of 2009-10 for the ‘Cats.
“I didn’t really feel like I did anything all that special tonight, to be honest,” said Faragher, who is now second in the NAHL for shutouts behind Alpena’s Marco Wieser (5). “The ‘D’ was great, as usual, keeping everything wide, outside and easy for me to see out there.”
Bobcats leading scorer Jason Fabian got the visitors off to a roaring start, swatting home a Sam Rendle rebound just 15 seconds into the game to post the ‘Cats to a quick 1-0 lead.
Leading goal scorer Ryan Jacobson followed Fabian’s lead just 3:21 later, ripping a low power play shot through the legs of Thunder starting netminder Nikofor Szczerba to post the visitors to a 2-0 lead less than four minutes in.
Szczerba, having given up two goals on four shots, was lifted moments later for Joe Rogers, who proceeded stop the Bobcats’ last nine shots of the period to settle the Thunder down and keep it a 2-0 game after one.
Rogers and Faragher combined to make 21 saves in a scoreless second period before the Bobcats hit the afterburners in the third.
Bryce Schmitt started the five-goal rally 4:56 into the final frame, stuffing a back-door feed from Brett Bower past Rogers to make it 3-0.
Gavin Hartzog followed up 33 seconds later, converting a mini-breakaway with a low wrist shot to extend the lead to 4-0.
With 10:04 left, Hartzog added his second of the game, breaking loose for a power play breakaway off a long pass from Fabian and rolling the puck through Rogers’ legs for a 5-0 Bobcat edge.
“When Jason got the puck, I found a little sweet spot behind their defense and called out to Jason for the puck,” said Hartzog. “He hit me with a perfect feed and that sprung me loose for the breakaway.”
Ben Danford lined a low power play goal past Rogers just 21 seconds after Hartzog’s second for a 6-0 score.
The Bobcats capped the rout when Trent Johnson tapped home an Aaron Quick centering feed with 55 seconds left for the final 7-0 margin.
Rogers made 30 saves but did not factor into the decision; Szczerba took the loss, falling to 2-5-3 on the year.
The Bobcats open March with a two-game home series against the Alexandria Blizzard starting with a 7:15 PM contest Friday night at the VFW Sports Center.
Friday’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.