BISMARCK, ND–Fairbanks proved to the Bobcats and the NAHL Saturday night, in the words of Bobcat head coach Layne Sedevie, "If you don’t show up, they will beat you."
The Ice Dogs scored six time, including a hat trick by Brett Gervais, blowing by the Bobcats 6-3 at the VFW Sports Center.
Bismarck was denied a weekend sweep after a Friday win for the third straight week, and in the process, saw their edge for first place in the NAHL Central Divison slip to one point as Aberdeen gained their 40th point in the standings with a win at Minot. Aberdeen plays at Bismarck on New Year’s Eve.
Tony German (Bismarck, ND) supplied the Bobcats (19-9-3) with a strong start, blasting in a one-timer from the left point at 6:06 of the first for the first goal of the night. But just three minutes later, Gervais scored his first of three on a short-handed opportunity at 9:24, a goal that Sedevie identified as the turning point.
"We had an offensive-zone draw, and they picked it up behind us, but we had two defenders back, and they just lost the guy in front of the net. We just didn’t have our effort tonight," said Sedevie.
Gervais then scored on the power play for a 2-1 Fairbanks lead, and Viktor Liljegren tallied at 6:58 of the second to widen the gap to two goals. Evan Giesler (Naperville, IL) responded with a rebounded goal swatted in from mid-air at 11:01 of the second, but Gervais completed the hat trick at 15:54, taking the lead back to two at 4-2.
That was the night the Bobcats had all night, according to Sedevie. "Every time we clawed back in the game, they would hit us again," he said.
The scenario would play out again in the third. Liljegren figured to put the game out of reach at 5:07 of the third, but the Bobcats rallied to put doubt back in the matchup when Matt Anders (Lafayette, CO) split two defenders down the slot and scored, trimming the deficit to 5-3 at 8:33 of the third.
But German was hit for a tripping call at 9:55, and Kyle Lee recorded the sixth goal of the night going top shelf over Aaron Nelson (Bismarck, ND) ending Nelson’s night and gouging the Bobcat hopes for a rally at 11:20.
The Bobcats complete a four-game homestand Tuesday night, New Year’s Eve, by hosting the Wings. Tickets are still available by calling 222-3300 or by logging on to www.bismarckbobcats.com. The Bobcats then hit the road to Brookings for an overnight weekend Friday and Saturday, January 3rd and 4th.