Do or Die

Bobcats Stunned in Overtime on Day Two

FRISCO, TX – The Bismarck Bobcats rallied to force overtime but could not outlast the Amarillo Bulls, falling 2-1 in the extra session Saturday at Dr. Pepper Arena to slip to 1-1 in the three-game round robin at the 2013 Robertson Cup Tournament.

At 1-1, the Bobcats no longer control their own championship game destiny: the Cats need a win Sunday against the Jamestown Ironmen plus a win by Amarillo over Wenatchee to reach the finals; otherwise they’d have to go deep into the tiebreakers with the Bulls and Wild for a bid to Monday’s title game.

Following a scoreless first period that saw a string of big saves by Bobcat netminder Aaron Nelson and Bulls goalie Paul Berrafato, Amarillo got on the board 3:39 into the second on a 5-on-3 power play on an up-ice rush when Gage Christianson converted a mid-slot chance past Nelson for a 1-0 Bulls lead.

Christianson’s tally seemed to steel the Bobcats, who created a span of over 22 minutes holding the Bulls without a shot on goal while creating 12 shots of their own on Berrafato.

Moments after Ryan Cole registered Amarillo’s first shot of the third period over ten minutes in, Stanislav Dzakhov got free on a short breakaway off an entry pass from Matt Anders and went five-hole past Berrafato to tie the game 1-1 with 8:34 left in regulation.

Amarillo buzzed around the Bobcat net in the final eight-plus minutes of regulation, but could not solve Nelson and the game went to sudden-death overtime—the first extra frame of the Bobcats’ postseason.

In bonus hockey, the Bobcats were whistled for two penalties and the second one proved costly; Cole gathered a pass from John Rey late in a holding infraction on the Cats and waited out Nelson before twisting the puck into the net with just 2:23 left in the first overtime period to give the Bulls a 2-1 win.

“It’s unfortunate [Saturday’s game] had to end like that,” lamented Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, “but it was still a great hockey game.”

Nelson made 21 saves but suffered just his second loss of the postseason; Berrafato racked up 28 stops for his eighth playoff win of 2013.

Though many scenarios sit before the Bobcats heading into the final game of the round robin against the Jamestown Ironmen, scheduled for a 7:30 PM puck drop Sunday, the players remain focused on what they can influence.

“All we can do is go out there and win [Sunday],” expressed Dzakhov, who has two goals in two games at the Robertson Cup. “That’s what’s in front of us. That’s what we can control.”

Sunday’s critical finale 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 PM.