BISMARCK, ND – The Bismarck Bobcats will play host to their two biggest rivals to kick off the final month of the 2011-12 regular season as the Aberdeen Wings and Alexandria Blizzard come calling for games Friday and Saturday, respectively, at the VFW Sports Center.
All three teams are battling for playoff position as the Bobcats (40-9-1, 81 pts) are eyeing their third division title in four years while the Blizzard (32-14-3, 67 pts) are trying to both chase down the Bobcats for first place and hold off a late-season rally from the Austin Bruins (27-15-5, 59 pts); Aberdeen (24-20-6, 54 pts) has already wrapped up their first-ever postseason bid but the Wings still have a chance to catch both Austin and Alexandria in the Central Division standings.
“Huge. That’s the only way to describe this weekend’s series,” asserted Bobcats forward Patrick Moore, who tallied six points last weekend against Minot after missing nearly a month to an arm injury. “With home ice in sight and our two biggest rivals coming to town, we need to play our best and send a message to the rest of the division.”
With wins being the first tiebreaker in the NAHL standings, the Bobcats sit just two wins away from sealing home ice advantage in the first round of the Robertson Cup Playoffs while any combination of nine points gained by the Bobcats and lost by the Blizzard will deliver the Cats the regular season Central crown.
The Wings and Blizzard enter the weekend as the two teams in the Central with the next-highest goal totals behind the Bobcats, so defensive intensity is high on the coaches’ checklist coming into the weekend.
“I want to see a lot more commitment to our own end,” explained Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, “a lot more focus. Our team has plenty of talent to take care of business on the offensive end but we’re going to need a strong effort defensively if we want four huge points Friday and Saturday.”
The Bobcats hope to get more good news on the injury front after Moore and Filip Starzynski returned from multi-week injuries last weekend; Bryce Schmitt missed Saturday’s 5-1 home win against Minot after requiring staples along his hairline after falling at the end of a fight Friday at Maysa Arena while Frank DeAugustine left Saturday’s game early with an apparent should injury. Both are expected to play Friday.
Both Friday and Saturday’s games, the middle games of a four-game Bobcat home stand, are scheduled for 7:15 PM puck drops at the VFW Sports Center.
Each contest will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270, KLXX-AM, and worldwide on the official internet television partner of the NAHL, FASTHockey, at http://nahl.fasthockey.com. Pregame coverage gets under way both nights at 6:45 PM.
Season tickets are still available for the second half of the 2011-12 season—and going fast! Call the Bobcat Hockey office at (701) 222-3300 or email email@example.com for more information on reserving a pro-rated package for the rest of the season!