Double-OT Heartbreak

TOPEKA, KS – With their 2010-11 season on the line in Game Two the Robertson Cup Play-In Series, the Bismarck Bobcats fell in double overtime to the Michigan Warriors 6-5 Friday at Landon Arena—ending the Cats’ campagn as the Warriors advance to their first-ever Robertson Cup Tournament.

The Bobcats had to battle early, forced to overcome a 3-1 deficit less than ten minutes into the game, but a gritty close to the opening frame was triggered by a tremendous individual effort by Blake Schammel with 5:48 as the Bobcat forward stole the puck in the corner of the Warrior zone, dove around a defender and tucked it past goalie Robert Tadazak to chop the Michigan lead to 3-2.

“That was one of the best goals I’ve seen all year,” marveled Bobcats head coach Layne Sedevie. “What a move from Schams, there.”

Danny Ray forced a 3-3 tie with just three seconds left in the first, bombing a rising shot through traffic and past Tadazak.

Special teams took over in the second as the two teams combined for four power play goals, starting 67 seconds into the middle frame when Michigan’s Andrew Kolb redirected a Ryan Green shot past Ryan Faragher on the man advantage for a 4-3 Warrior edge.

The Bobcats responded on their next power play as Dan Zawacki found a crease in the Michigan penalty kill and zipped a low liner under Tadazak’s glove for the equalizer just 1:33 after Kolb’s go-ahead marker.

Ray’s second of the night gave the Cats their only lead of the night with 4:01 to go in the middle frame when his power play point shot deflected off a Michigan defenseman and in for a 5-4 Bobcat advantage.

That lead lasted only 33 seconds as the Warriors quickly earned a power play that third-year veteran Scott Henegar converted past Faragher off a Kevin Gibson rebound for a 5-5 tie heading into the third.

Faragher calmed down in the third to stop all 16 shots he faced in the would-be final frame while his counterpart Tadazak needed just three stops as the teams deadlocked in the third and headed to overtime.

In the first 20-minute overtime, each team came up empty on one power play while the Cats outshot the Warriors 11-7 but neither side could solve the other’s goaltender in the extra frame.

The teams traded end-to-end rushes in the second overtime, but it was Michigan’s Ryan Trenz who put the finishing touches on the game with 7:47 left in the fifth frame with a low shot in transition past Faragher to deliver the Warriors a 6-5 victory and the third seed at the 2011 Robertson Cup Tournament.

“It was a great battle,” lamented Sedevie, “but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a disappointment that we won’t be playing in the national tournament next week.”

Michigan started fast, racing out to a 3-1 lead 8:26 into the contest as the North Division champs sandwiched goals from Kolb, Brandon Boelter and Gibson around a Bobcat strike from Donald Olivieri before the Central champs started their late-period rally.

Tadazak finished with 39 saves for the Warriors while Faragher made 45 stops in defeat.

“It was hard to believe it was over,” said Faragher who, as a player born in 1990, is now out of junior eligibility and will move on to St. Cloud State in 2011-12. “I sat there on the bench for about two hours after the game ended, just reflecting on what a great ride my four years of junior has been.

“Bismarck has been home for two years and the times I’ve had here—two division titles and a national championship—are something I’ll never forget.”

Faragher finishes his Bobcat career with a record of 53-26-9, a 2.33 GAA, a .919 SV% and nine shutouts.

Other Bobcats aging out include Faragher’s co-captain and leading scorer Matt Gates and second-year veterans Emerson Auvenshine, Blake Schammel and Sam Dougherty.

Despite the departure of the five veterans, the Bobcats have 20 players eligible to return and defend their back-to-back-to-back Central Division titles.

Bobcat Hockey would like to once again thank all of its fans, staff and sponsors for a wonderful 2010-2011 season—you are part of the team!