Bruce on Tour

ABERDEEN, SD – The Bismarck Bobcats clinched home ice in the first round of the 2012 Robertson Cup Playoffs after overcoming a furious rally by the Aberdeen Wings to top their rivals 4-3 in overtime Tuesday at the Odde Ice Center.

With the Bobcats leading 3-1 in the second period, the Wings sparked a comeback with 4:31 to go in the middle frame when defenseman Mike Parnell burned a top-shelf shot past Bobcat goalie Aaron Nelson, chopping the Cats’ lead to 3-2.

The Bobcats killed off four third-period penalties to try and cling to the lead, but couldn’t hold off Cory Ward—who had scored the game-winning goal in the teams’ prior two meetings—who redirected an effort to the net by Parnell through Nelson’s legs with just 12 seconds left to send the game to bonus hockey.

Thanks to the NAHL’s first standings tiebreaker being wins, the Bobcats clinched home ice by eliminating the Austin Bruins with the point gained by reaching overtime.

It didn’t take the Bobcats long to collect the other available standings point on Tuesday, as 34 seconds into overtime Adam Knochenmus hit a streaking Bryce Anderson for a back-door one-timer that boosted the Cats to a 4-3 road win in their final regular season visit to Aberdeen.

“I really didn’t have to do much,” confessed Anderson, who has three goals and seven assists in his last ten games to run his total for points on the year to 37, “Adam hit me with such a perfect pass, all I had to do was catch it and make sure it got to the net.”

The Wings opened the scoring 8:25 into the game when Trevor Husch redirected a shot in transition on the power play by Caleb O’Brien past Nelson, posting the home side to a 1-0 lead.

Knochenmus answered for the Bobcats quickly after they successfully killed off their second penalty, taking a cross-ice pass from Frank DeAugustine and beaming it in before Wings netminder Marcus Zelzer could recover to the post, leveling the game at one with 5:23 left in the first.

Back-to-back goals by Castan Sommer and DeAugustine in the last three minutes of the opening stanza pushed the visitors to a 3-1 lead that they enjoyed until Parnell triggered Aberdeen’s rally late in the second.

Nelson nailed down his 12th win of the year behind 39 saves while Zelzer slipped to 14-10-2 on the year despite 29 stops.

Tuesday marked the Cats’ final trip to Odde Ice Center of the regular season, where they went 5-1-0 in six games.

With the win, the Bobcats dropped their magic number for clinching the division to two points over the Alexandria Blizzard while pulling one point ahead of idle Amarillo for the best record in the NAHL.

Playoff tickets go on sale Wednesday for April 6 and 7; fans can call the box office at 222-3300 or buy and print their tickets online at

The Bobcats come right back with two chances to lock up their third division title in four years with a home-and-home with the Blizzard, starting Friday at 7:30 PM at the Runestone Center before shifting to the VFW Sports Center Saturday for a 7:15 PM puck drop.

Saturday’s contest is the Bobcats’ annual St. Baldrick’s Night, when the team partners up with Basin Electric and the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to raise money to fight childhood cancer. The team will wear special edition green jerseys that will be auctioned off after the game with the proceeds going to St. Baldrick’s. In addition to the auction, Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie will get his head shaved at center ice during the first intermission and be joined in getting his head shaved by multiple players, including Dan Kovar and John Furgele.

The Bobcats have also announced that if they hit 900 followers on Twitter at, defenseman Rory Vesel will get his head shaved and if they hit 1,000 followers forward Shane Omdahl will join him in going chrome-dome.

Friday’s road contest in Alexandria 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 Pregame coverage gets under way at 7:00. Fans can watch Friday’s game—and all away contests—live at Reza’s Pitch at Third and Front in Bismarck, the official away game home of Bobcat Hockey.

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 for more information on reserving a pro-rated package for the rest of the season!