ABERDEEN, S.D. — When Quinn Rudrud scored a go-ahead goal in the third period, the Bobcats embarked on the toughest 8 minutes and 15 seconds defensively of the season. They almost made it out.
A Will Gilson wrist shot with the empty net beat Bobcat goaltender Aksel Reid with 20.2 seconds remaining, sending a near-full house at the Odde Ice Center into hysterics. That would be the last shot to get behind the Cats’ rookie goalie.
A whistle-free overtime saw only one shot on goal apiece, sending the game to a three-round shootout.
Owen Michaels and Jonathan Ziskie did their jobs, converting on low wrist shots. Reid flashed the glove on Ronan Walsh, who put three pucks by him in the series. Needing a save to clinch the win, the 18-year-old stayed with Aberdeen forward Landry Schmuck, who did not fool Reid and had no choice but to fire a shot into his body.
Bobcats 3, Wings 2. Everyone wearing black poured over the bench to surround and hug their goaltender. Talk about a thrilling way to pick up road win number one.
Talk about a rebound performance for the defensive hero, too. Reid allowed six goals on 29 shots at the VFW Sports Center in Friday’s 6-4 loss. Saturday’s stat line: 35 saves on 37 shots, and perfect in the shootout. Oh, and his first career win.
In another flipping of fortune, the Bobcats went from never leading in game one to never trailing in game two. Jonathan Ziskie opened the scoring on the power play in the second period, with his long range shot deflected in front of the Aberdeen goal. The Wings’ Ronan Walsh responded with a power play goal five minutes later.
The Bobcats and Wings meet again in a home-and-home next weekend, with the Wings hosting on Friday and the VFW Sports Center the site of Saturday’s game. Tickets are available on www.tinyurl.com/bobcatstickets.
The game was tied for 46:59 of 60:00 in regulation. The Bobcats led for a total of 13:01, and never fell behind. The only other time the Bobcats have not trailed in a game was October 1 against Minot.
Bismarck has scored the first goal in three of their four wins.
Three of the Bobcats’ four wins have been decided by one goal.
Jake McLean’s two assists brought his total up to 14 for the year. He is tied for 14th in the NAHL in that category.
Shots on goal: Bismarck 21, Aberdeen 37
Power plays: Bismarck 1/4, Aberdeen 1/6
First period: No scoring
Bismarck goal: Jonathan Ziskie from Jake McLean, Calvin Hanson, 3:24 (PP)
Aberdeen goal: Ronan Walsh from Kyle Gaffney, 8:30 (PP)
Bismarck goal: Quinn Rudrud from Jake McLean, 11:45
Aberdeen goal: Will Gilson from Kyle Gaffney, Cade Neilson, 19:40 (EN)
Bismarck: Owen Michaels goal, Jonathan Ziskie goal
Aberdeen: Ronan Walsh no goal, Landry Schmuck no goal