BISMARCK, N.D.–The St. Cloud Norsemen defeated the Bismarck Bobcats 5-4 at the VFW Sports Center on Friday. Nik Hong scored the overtime winner halfway through the sudden-death period.
The Bobcats not earning two points was surprising given their play for much of the night. Bismarck controlled shot attempts, shots on goal, and possession time for the vast majority of the game. However, the Norsemen were opportunistic. 25 percent of St. Cloud’s shots on goal ended up in the back of the net.
Logan Valkama scored in the first period, but a pair of Norsemen goals put the visitors up 2-1 at the intermission. Bismarck came out hot in the second, though. A 3-1 St. Cloud lead turned into a 4-3 Bobcats advantage at the end of the second. Julian Beaumont, Calvin Hanson, and Drew Holt all scored in the frame.
The Bobcats did well to start the third, but St. Cloud finally broke through. Kade Peterson tied the game with 7:37 remaining, then set up Hong for the overtime winner.
“The first 12 (minutes of the third period) they never got the puck out of their zone,” head coach Layne Sedevie said. “Then, we just started icing pucks and started struggling a bit. I do not think we gave up much, but what we gave up were grade-A scoring chances, two-on-ones, and breakaways. I felt like we dictated most of the play, but found a way to give away two points.”
Five goals against is the most Bismarck has surrendered since New Year’s Eve. In their 11 games since that point–excluding Friday–the team had averaged fewer than two goals against per night. The Bobcats still outshot the Norsemen 29-20, but the ‘grade-A’ scoring chances were more evenly distributed.
“It is not what you want to do,” Sedevie said. “That is for sure. You do not give your goaltender a feel for the puck, we kept backing in, and they made nice shots. If you give them time and space, I do not care who we are playing, some nights, they are going to make you pay.”
With the game going to overtime, the Bobcats still earned one standings point, bringing them to 42 on the season. Bismarck is two points behind Minot for fourth place and three points behind St. Cloud for third. A win on Saturday would mean a four-game series split with the Norsemen, an impressive feat considering the Bobcats’ lineup shortages last week.
“You (have to) show up tomorrow and work,” Sedevie said. “There is no other way around it. We got a point. That is not good enough, and that has to be our mindset.”
The Bismarck Bobcats host the St. Cloud Norsemen at 7:15 p.m. on Saturday, February 11. Tickets are on sale now at tickets.bismarckbobcats.com. All Bobcat games are broadcast live on SuperTalk 1270 (free radio) and HockeyTV (subscription video).