ST. CLOUD, MINN.–Layne Sedevie said he has never been a part of anything quite like this.
Not what happened on the ice in a 2-0 St. Cloud Norsemen victory over the Bismarck Bobcats on Friday. It is what took place during the week leading up to game action that led to tough sledding for the ‘Cats.
Eight players did not make the six-hour bus ride and are watching the series either from Bismarck or their homes. Illness going around the team–and seemingly the entire city–ravaged the Bobcats’ locker room and more than doubled the expected number of scratches. The names include leading scorer Patrick Johnson, the speedy Calvin Hanson, and Luke Roelofs, the reliable top-line defenseman.
While the Bobcats certainly showed signs of having a decimated roster, the effort was respectable in many sorts. Linards Lipskis stopped 31 of 33 shots in a fine performance. The penalty kill snapped St. Cloud’s 10-game power play goal scoring streak with a 5-for-5 night. The defense did not surrender many grade-A looks.
“We killed a five-on-three for two minutes,” head coach Layne Sedevie said. “We killed a four-on-three. There was still some good stuff … It is not an easy thing to do when you have eight guys out of your lineup. To me, we just have to find a way to score a goal here and there.”
Offensively, the Bobcats struggled to generate sustained pressure for the first two periods, only registering five shots on goal in 40 minutes. The third period brought more chances, with eight shots on goal and some quality looks despite not scoring.
“We were better in the third,” Sedevie said. “We have some guys who have not played at this level, and I felt like they got acclimated a bit as the game went on.”
Last week, the Bobcats went to Aberdeen with a short bench and still pulled out a weekend sweep. This time around, the bench is even shorter. Tyler Bautko, a tendered player from Macomb, Mich. made his league debut today. Sean Kenny and Owen Van Tassel also joined the Bobcats from the NA3HL as Sedevie continues to seek out extra bodies.
“I think if we can try and replicate what we did in the third period for 60 miles tomorrow,” Sedevie said. “We might have a chance. That is all you can ask for.”