BISMARCK, ND – The Bismarck Bobcats begin a run of four consecutive interdivision games when they host the West Division’s Dawson Creek Rage for a pair of contests Friday and Saturday at the VFW Sports Center.
Dawson Creek’s visit marks the first time the Cats will have hosted a team from Canada since the Fernie Ghostriders were members of the America West Hockey League in 2004.
Back in their own barn after a two-game sweep at Aberdeen, the Cats will look to continue their strong start against the Rage, who they defeated 5-2 and 9-3 in two early October meetings at the Encana Events Centre in northern British Columbia.
“They’re a big, physical team,” explained Bobcats forward Adam Knochenmus, who tallied his first goal of the year October 7 in Dawson Creek, “but we feel we have a little bit of a speed advantage on them. We’re not going to let their physicality keep us away from being aggressive or hard-hitting, either, because that’s our style of hockey, too.”
Last Saturday’s 6-5 shootout win for the Wings may function as a turning point for the team’s mental approach, after storming back from an early 4-1 deficit to steal a victory in hostile territory.
Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie believes the lessons learned in Aberdeen will serve his squad well against a team that they’ve outscored 14-5 through two games.
“You look at Aberdeen, we’d beaten them three straight times heading into Saturday and because of that we came into the game with a terrible mentality and put up our worst period of the season to start the game,” admitted Sedevie.
“So you look at Dawson Creek, who we played well against a few weeks ago: can we afford to give a team built to protect a lead a start to a game like we had in Aberdeen? Absolutely not. We need a full sixty-minute effort both nights if we want four [standings] points.”
The Rage enter the weekend fresh off a two-game split at Maysa Arena against the Minot Minotauros.
The Bobcat offense is paced by the one-two punch of twenty point scorers Castan Sommer (9 G, 11 A) and Shane Omdahl (5 G, 15 A), while Tommy Burke anchors the back end with a 9-2-0 record in net with a 2.69 GAA and a .911 SV%. Rookie goalie Aaron Nelson, out of Century High School, has chipped in a 1-1-0 record plus a stout 2.22 GAA and .922 SV%.
Netminders Edward Dyson and Jack Surgenor split Dawson Creek’s goalie duties, combining for a 4-8-0 record with a 4.00 GAA and an .885 SV%. Earlier Thursday Rage blueliner Luke Ripley (3 A) was included on the NHL’s Central Scouting list for the 2012 Entry Draft.
NOTES: It was reported Thursday morning that Bobcat alum Ryan Faragher will start Friday for St. Cloud State at Ralph Engelstad Arena against the University of North Dakota after the Huskies lost goalie Mike Lee to season-ending surgery. Dawson Creek hopes to return regulars Brett Zarazun and Dylan Smith to the lineup to the lineup this weekend. Bobcats forward Patrick Moore will rejoin linemates Omdahl and Sommer Friday after missing Saturday’s game in Aberdeen with the flu.
Friday’s contest gets under way at 7:15 PM and will feature an in-game giveaway of two airline tickets from Allegiant Air while Saturday—also a 7:15 PM start—will feature a costume contest with all kids in costumes getting free candy and all adults with a qualifying costume receiving a free beer.
Both games 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 at 6:45.
Season tickets are now on sale for 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 this season!