Bobcats Sweep Express, Seize First Place

Nov 19, 2010

BISMARCK, ND – The Bismarck Bobcats finished off their second sweep in three weeks of the Owatonna Express at the VFW Sports Center Saturday, downing the visitors 2-1 in a shootout to claim sole possession of first place in the Central Division.

Saturday’s win boosts the Bobcats (13-7-1, 27 pts) one point ahead of the Express (11-8-3) for the top spot in the division with the Coulee Region Chill (11-5-2, 24 pts) three points out.

The Express took the lead over halfway through the game when Nick Widing found room behind the Bobcat penalty kill and slammed home a Beau Burgau rebound with 9:13 left in the second period.

It only took just less than four minutes to respond—also on the power play—when Matt Gates redirected a Danny Ray slap-pass through his own legs and through those of Owatonna goalie Charles Williams to tie things up with 5:21 to go in the middle frame.

“I made eye-contact for a split-second with Danny through traffic and I knew right then that he was going to feed me,” recalled Gates, who tallied two goals and an assist on the weekend. “He put a perfect pass on my tape and it made for an easy tip-in.”

The teams battled to a scoreless draw in the third period and overtime, forcing the second shootout between the Bobcats and the Express in their last four meetings.

Neither team was able to score in the first round and a half of the shootout, leading to Bobcats forward Nikolaj Rosenthal powered a low shot past Williams’ blocker to boost the home side to a 1-0 shootout lead through two rounds.

The next four shooters were all stymied, leaving the game on the stick of Express forward—and Bismarck native—Jace Kusler. Kusler deked left but Bobcat netminder Ryan Faragher forced him all the way to the post and made a glancing save to secure the sweep for the Cats.

“Tonight’s shootout was a lot different [than on November 5] because they actually threw some moves at me,” noted Faragher, who is now 2-0 in the shootout. “I had to work a little harder but everything worked out well again.”

Faragher stopped 37 shots to pick up his 12th win of the season while his counter part Williams was the tough-luck loser, falling to 7-3-3 despite 32 saves.

The game featured a grinding physical pace, which suited the home side just fine with Owatonna playing their third game in four nights.

“That’s Bobcat hockey,” grinned Rosenthal, who now has three game-winning goals, “that’s where we want to be.”

The Bobcats continue their homestand Thursday with their second annual Thanksgiving Night game with the rival Aberdeen Wings coming to town for a 7:15 PM showdown.

Aberdeen is 3-2-0 against the Bobcats—including 1-0 at the VFW Sports Center—and currently leads the Titan Machinery Dakota Cup series 6-4.

The Thanksgiving Night contest will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270, KLXX-AM, and worldwide at Pre-game coverage will begin at 6:45 PM CT.

Season tickets are now on sale for the 2010-11 season! Call the Bobcat Hockey office at (701) 222-3300 or email for more information on reserving your seats for the entire season as the Bobcats look to defend the Robertson Cup!