Closing In

Bobcats Hit the Road in Search of Home Ice

AUSTIN, MN – The Bismarck Bobcats will make their second-to-last road trip of the 2012-13 regular season with a shot at locking up second place in their sights as they travel to Riverside Arena to open a two-game series against the Austin Bruins Friday.

Coming into their last meeting with the first-place Bruins, the Bobcats have reduced their magic number—the combined number of points they gain in the standings and points that Brookings loses—to three.

“All we need is three points and we’ll be able to start the playoffs in front of the best fans in the North American Hockey League,” explained Bobcats assistant coach Garrett Roth, who spent his junior career playing in front of the VFW Sports Center faithful. “And three points is something that we don’t even need to watch the scoreboard for this weekend, if we can take care of business in Austin.”

Taking care of business at Riverside Arena this season, however, is often a tricky proposition. Through four contests in Austin, the Bobcats have compiled a mark of 1-2-1—their last meeting in southern Minnesota yielded an 8-3 loss, the most goals the Bobcats have surrendered all year.

That season high loss has stuck with the Bobcats going forward, as the Cats used the lessons learned on February 23 to fuel a 4-1-2 run in the seven games since.

“We know we can’t start slow anymore,” assessed Bobcats forward Stanislav Dzakhov, who had two points in the last two matchups with the Bruins, “because we tied the last two periods [February 23] but we didn’t start well and were down 5-0 after one. A team as good as Austin, you have to play your best right away.”

The playoff picture in the Central Division will take center stage on the weekend: not only will the Bobcats be battling the Blizzard for second place, but the Minot Minotauros will try and wrap up their first-ever playoff spot, needing just one point to eliminate the torrid Aberdeen Wings, who have won five straight. Only first-place Austin has their postseason plans locked in, having wrapped up the top spot on March 8.

In other divisional action over the regular season’s penultimate weekend, Brookings plays two games against Minot while Aberdeen takes on last-place Coulee Region.

The curtain rises on the final regular season go-round between the Bobcats and Bruins Friday at 7:05 PM at Riverside.

Friday’s top-two tilt 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 6:40 PM.

Bobcat fans can get 2013 Playoff Priority if they reserve 2013-14 season tickets today! Call the Bobcat Hockey office at (701) 222-3300 to reserve your seats for another year Championship Entertainment and get first crack at seats in the 2013 Robertson Cup Playoffs.