BISMARCK, ND – The Bismarck Bobcats exploded for a five-goal third period on their way to a 6-0 thumping of the Owatonna Express in front of a sellout crowd at the VFW Sports Center Friday night.
Bobcat goaltender Jake Williams made just 10 stops but picked up both his 10th win and his fourth shutout of the season—tying him for second in the league with teammate Ryan Faragher for second-most in the NAHL.
“[Owatonna] may have only had 10 shots, but they were some pretty good shots,” said Williams, who is now 8-1-0 as a Bobcat. “I faced a couple mini-breakaways and saw a couple shots in traffic. But only facing that many shots is definitely a testament to our ‘D’ here tonight, who kept their offense off-balance all night.”
Following a scoreless first period in which the ‘Cats outshot the Express 9-1, Bobcat forward Tim Serratore opened the scoring 11:16 into the second, beating Owatonna netminder Matt Hemingway with a low shot through traffic.
Serratore now has three goals in his last two games.
Holding the 1-0 lead after 40 minutes, the Bobcats hit the afterburners in the third. Leading scorer Jason Fabian touched off the rally 2:15 into the period with a 5-on-3 power play tally, redirecting a Sam Rendle 40-footer to boost the lead to 2-0.
Fabian followed up his 22nd goal of the year with his 23rd 3:56 later, taking a centering pass from Nick Jensen and beaming a turn-around wrist shot over Hemingway’s glove to put the home side up 3-0.
1:53 after Fabian’s second of the night, Bobcat winger George Malliaras deflected an altered shot off the stick of Trent Johnson out of mid-air and inside Hemingway’s short post for a 4-0 Bobcat advantage.
Tyler Klein added to the Express’ misery with 10:04 remaining in regulation when he made it 5-0 Bobcats, one-timing a Casey Kleisinger feed over Hemingway’s blocker.
Malliaras capped the Bismarck rally with 6:59 left in the game, powering a face-off win from Jensen through Hemingway’s legs for the final 6-0 margin.
“After the second period, Coach Pool came into the locker room pretty ticked off,” said Malliaras. “He told us we weren’t playing our style of hockey and that we needed to start being physical and finishing plays. We took his advice and the scoreboard showed again what kind of results we can get when we play Bobcat Hockey.”
The Bobcats have now outscored their opponents 9-0 in the third periods of their last two games.
Hemingway took the loss in net for the Express, making 21 saves before being lifted in favor of Michael Webb. Webb stopped all four shots he faced in the final six-plus minutes.
The Bobcats and Express will wrap up their 12-game season series Saturday at 7:15 at the VFW Sports Center. The Bobcats are 6-1-4 against the Express heading into Saturday’s finale.
During the game, Bobcats assistant coach Layne Sedevie and select Bobcat players will be getting their heads shaved as the ‘Cats partner with Basin Electric to benefit the national St. Baldrick’s campaign for cancer research.
Saturday’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 each night.
You won\’t want to miss any of the games this season, so order your pro-rated 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.