WENATCHEE, WA–The Bobcats are more than happy to have Chris Diver back in uniform.
Following a second-period line brawl, then two Wenatchee Wild goals that erased a Bobcat two-goal lead, Diver (Wilmington, DE), back from a seven-week illness, beat his old team with the lone shootout goal in a 4-3 Bobcat win at the Town Toyota Center in Wenathcee.
Goalie Aaron Nelson (Bismarck, ND) made the goal stand up by stopping six Wild shooters in the extra-round shootout to earn the win for the Bobcats (24-13-4, 52 points), who used the win to keep pace with Austin for first place, with Austin next on the Bobcat schedule.
Another penalty-marred night saw chaos erupt in the second after the Bobcats powered their way to a 3-1 lead behind Stanisav Dzakhov (Moscow, Russia), who scored at 1:13 of the first and 17:26 of the second, and Huba Sekesi (Munich, Germany) who scored at 8:55 of the second. Diver assisted on Sekesi’s goal and the second of Dzakhov’s scores.
But the brawling between lines was a near certainty on a night that saw the teams combine for 17 power plays and 93 penalty minutes. Gloves dropped at 17:32 of the second, with Bobcat Alex Toscano (Duluth, MN) and Wild Matthew Nuttle lasting the longest, with both receiving the gate.
Bobcat Ryan Callahan (Grafton, ND) took a minor roughing call for his participation, while Levi Blom (Butte, MT) took a fighting major. Wenatchee took a major on Andre Pison and a double-minor on Omar Mullen. Head coach Bliss Littler received an abuse of officials call at the end of the period as well.
Wenatchee regrouped and rallied in the third. Gadel Gumerov scored at 3:01 cutting the deficit to 3-2. The equalizer came on a five-on-three power play after Jacob McDowell (Dimondale, MI) was sent off for slashing, followed shortly thereafter by Sekesi receiving a boarding major. Mike Coyne scored at 8:27 to force overtime.
Each side when through five shooters, with no result. Diver scored on the sixth opportunity for the Bobcats, and Nelson then turned away Joseph Kaszupski to clinch the win.
The Bobcats head to Austin next weekend for a pair against the division leader. Both games will be broadcast on Supertalk 1270, with pregame coverage each night at 6:50 p.m.