WASILLA, AK – The Bismarck Bobcats picked up their first win of the season Sunday, riding a streak of six unanswered goals to rally past the Alaska Avalanche at the Curtis C. Menard Memorial Arena. The win ended the Bobcats’ 0-5-2 slide to open the 2009-2010 campaign.
“It was huge to get that monkey off our back and get that win,” said Bobcat forward Jason Fabian, who netted two goals and added an assist in the victory. “We were struggling a little bit through the first few games and we feel like we can really pull a lot of momentum from getting that ‘W’ here [Sunday].”
Facing a 3-0 deficit after the first period, the Bobcats came roaring back in the second.
Ryan Jacobson put the ‘Cats on the board 5:23 into the second stanza, ripping a transition wrist shot off Alaska goalie Landon Peterson’s helmet, high into the air and into the back of the net to cut the Avalanche lead to 3-1.
Twelve seconds later, Sam Rendle rolled a wrist shot in traffic past a screened-out Peterson for a 3-2 score.
The Bobcats continued to apply pressure in the Alaska end, drawing an interference penalty on Avalanche captain Logan Maly at the 13:51 mark of the second. Fabian tallied the first of his two scores on the ensuing power play, wheeling a wrist shot in front of the Alaska net past Peterson to tie the game at three.
Fabian followed up just 23 seconds later, tipping an Emerson Auvenshine shot through Peterson’s legs for a 4-3 Bobcat lead just 7:52 into the middle frame.
“We were talking between periods about how we had a lot of time to come back, that the game wasn’t over yet,” said Fabian. “After that, we came out and got all four of those goals in the first eight minutes of the second and we started to really feel it out there; feeling like a winning team again.”
The Bobcats pushed the lead to 6-3 on back-to-back third period power play goals. Devin Schmitt scored first, firing a slap over the blocker of relief Alaska netminder Kale Robertson 5:18 into the final frame.
Dominic Panetta capped the Bobcats’ rally, scorching a wrist shot over Robertson’s glove with the man advantage. The ‘Cats finished 3-for-8 on the power play Sunday.
Goaltender Ryan Faragher came on to start the second period in relief of starter Ryan Massa, making 22 saves to improve his record on the year to 1-2-1.
“When you are sitting to start the game and have to come in, it can be tough to get in the flow of the game,” said Faragher. “When the guys came out and started lighting it up, it made my life a lot easier back there.”
The Avalanche made a late bid at a comeback when Nardo Nagtzaam tallied his second goal of the game on a short-handed breakaway to cut the Bobcat lead to 6-4.
Faragher made the lead stand up late, turning aside six shots in the last minute to preserve the win.
“The last minute of the game was crazy,” recalled Faragher, “we had taken a penalty and they were out there 6-on-4. They got some good chances so I just focused on making sure I made that first save on each shot.”
The Avalanche built their first-period lead on goals from Nagtzaam, Zach Smith and Logan Rounds.
Massa made 14 saves in the first period but did not factor in the final decision.
For Alaska, Peterson made 12 saves with no decision; Robertson took the loss with 12 saves in 30 minutes of action.
The Bobcats got a lift for the game with the return of veteran forward Tim Serratore to the lineup following a two-game suspension stemming from a late fight in last Friday’s game against the Avalanche.
“It was great having Timmy back in the lineup,” added Fabian, “he was great on special teams, especially the penalty kill. His veteran presence really gave us the lift we needed [Sunday].”
The Bobcats and Avalanche will wrap up their season series Tuesday at the Curtis C. Menard Memorial Arena with a 10:00 PM contest.
The 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 for Saturday’s game will get underway at 9:30 PM.
You won\’t want to miss any of the games this season, so order your Season Tickets, Family Packs and Group Night’s 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.