Bobcats Split War in Watford

WATFORD CITY, N.D.–The Bismarck Bobcats and Minot Minotauros split the fourth annual War in Watford, with each side winning one game at the Rough Rider Center.

The Bobcats kicked off the two-game series with a 3-2 win on Friday night. Brandon Reller scored in the opening two minutes of the series. Evan Hunter followed up with a second Bismarck goal in the first period.

After allowing a 2-0 second-period lead to slip away, Patrick Johnson delivered the eventual game-winning goal on a wrist shot from the left wing. Neither team scored nor had a power play in the third period, as the Bobcats held on for a victory.

Minot, however, emerged victorious on Saturday night, 2-0. The Bobcats allowed two shots from the left point to sneak through by Tauros’ defensemen Graham Skinner and Weston Knox.

Bismarck’s goaltending emerged as a bright spot in both games of the series. Latvian-born Linards Lipskis, a Northern Michigan commit, stopped 27 of 29 shots on Friday. 18-year-old rookie C.J. Kier (pictured) made 28 saves on 30 shots Saturday. The two goalies combined for a .932 save percentage.

Counting the two games in Watford City and the pair of scrimmages against Aberdeen, the Bobcats finish the preseason with a record of 3-1. The team’s first regular season game is Wednesday at 1:45 p.m. against the Lone Star Brahmas at the NAHL Showcase in Blaine, Minn.