Everything But The…

Bobcats Erase Four-Goal Deficit but Can’t Complete Comeback
BISMARCK, ND – The Bismarck Bobcats rallied from a 4-0 hole in the second period to tie the score Saturday, but were foiled by a late John Snodgrass goal, falling 5-4 to the Minot Minotauros on Christmas Party Night at the VFW Sports center.
Already behind 3-0 after one, the Bobcats’ deficit grew to four scores 3:42 into the second as Christian Mohs got free on a shorthanded breakaway and beat Bobcat goalie Hunter Shepard five-hole to silence the crowd of 1,450.
Approaching the halfway point of the game, the Bobcats finally broke through with 10:59 remaining in the first as Matt Perry sprung Cullen Willox on a shorthanded breakaway of his own that Willox cashed in over the glove of Minot netminder Atte Tolvanen, triggering a cascade of stuffed animals onto the ice for the Bobcats’ second-annual Teddy Bear Toss.
Once the teddy bears were cleared, it took the Cats just 52 seconds to strike again, this time on a 2-on-1 rush when Harrison Aide poked in an Alex Strand rebound to bring the score to 4-2.
Though no more goals would be registered in the second, the stat sheet swelled with penalties in the middle stanza: in all, 86 penalty minutes were handed out to the two sides including a five-minute major for charging assessed to Bobcat blueliner Garrett Nelson and a charging major followed immediately by a fight that earned Minot’s Johnny Walker 30 penalty minutes and a game misconduct with two seconds left in the frame.
Once Nelson’s penalty released in the third period, the Bobcat power play pounced on Walker’s major as Jared Pike grabbed a pass from Jared Spooner in the mid-slot that the rookie ripped home for his third goal of the year and a 4-3 score with 17:08 left in regulation.
Defenseman Tanner Salsberry whipped the sellout crowd into a frenzy 65 seconds later, firing a low point shot through traffic that beat Tolvanen five-hole to tie the game at four.
After Walker’s penalty ended, Minot turned up the heat on Shepard with extended forechecks but the score would remain tied until the 5:00 mark when John Snodgrass poked a Chase Springman rebound under the crossbar to push Minot in front 5-4.
Minot fortified their defense after the go-ahead goal, allowing just one shot in the final five minutes to spoil the Bobcats’ comeback and snatch a 5-4 victory.
As thrilling as the final 40 minutes of the game ended up, the opening 20 were quite forgettable for the Bobcats, who surrendered a goal to Springman 7:33 into the contest before Jon Lizotte and Troy Degler each tallied in the final three minutes of the first period to put the Cats down 3-0 at the first intermission.
“We came out and shot ourselves in the foot, and honestly after the first 25 minutes of hockey I’m not sure we deserved to win,” confessed Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie. “But credit our guys, who never gave up. Nobody quit. Our team showed a lot of character [Saturday], even though we couldn’t pull one out of the hat.”
Shepard finished with 22 saves, falling to 2-1-0 against the Tauros in three starts. Tolvanen turned in 28 stops to secure his division-best 14th win.
The two sides will reconvene for a 7:35pm Friday rematch at Maysa Arena—their third of four meetings this month.
Live coverage of Friday’s grudge match will begin at 6:45pm locally on SuperTalk 1270, KLXX-AM, the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, and worldwide online at NAHL.FASTHockey.com, the official web television partner of the North American Hockey League.
Though the 2014-15 season is now under way, there is still time to order season tickets for the year; fans who want to lock in their seats for the entire campaign should call the Bobcat office at 222-3300 today!