Bobcats Earn Point, Raise Thousands for Charity
BISMARCK, ND – The Bismarck Bobcats saw a two-goal lead dissipate in the third period and saw a tying effort in the shootout glance off the crossbar and out as the Cats fell to the Aberdeen Wings 4-3 in a shootout Saturday at the VFW Sports Center.
“I think if we go to another shootout, we’re going to see if we can decline it,” lamented Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, whose team fell to 3-7 in the shootout in 2012-13 after going a perfect 7-0 last season. “We’re just snakebit after overtime; we’ll be happy when the playoffs roll around because there aren’t any shootouts, there.”
As they did Friday, the Bobcats blazed out to an early 1-0 lead on the visiting Wings as Joe Giordano banked a no-angle shot off Aberdeen goalie Zach Nagelvoort and in just 20 seconds into the game.
Evan Giesler followed up with his sixth goal in eight games at the three minute mark of the opening frame, popping in a Dan Kovar rebound for a 2-0 edge.
Aberdeen chewed into that lead with 8:50 to go in the first as the Bobcats got caught deep in the Wings’ zone on transition as Steven Johnson raced into the Cats’ end and flipped a pass over to Peter Krieger who whipped home a one-timer to make it 2-1 for the home side after one.
“We got out to a great start and played well for the first ten minutes and then went away from it,” assessed Sedevie, “our guys started trying to make the cute play instead of going to the net and working hard like how they scored those goals in the first place.”
Near the end of a back-and-forth second period, Patrick Moore netted his third goal in three nights: one-timing home a backhand feed from Matt Pohlkamp with 1:22 to go in the stanza, boosting it back to a two-goal lead for the Cats at 3-1.
Fighting for their playoff lives, Aberdeen cut it back to one at 3-2 just 21 seconds into the third on the power play when Krieger netted his second of the night, tapping in a rebound after Bobcat netminder Aaron Nelson denied back-to-back point-blank chances by Jake Horton and Jordan Heller.
Horton continued the Wings’ late-season magic with 12:14 to go in regulation, burning a rising slap shot through a screen in front of Nelson and inside the far post, tying the game 3-3.
Nelson and Nagelvoort locked in after that, combining for 18 saves in the third to send the game to overtime for the second straight night.
In the extra frame, the Bobcats carried the pace of play but were repeatedly rebuffed by Aberdeen’s shotblocking efforts as the game eventually found its way to the shootout.
Goals by Krieger and Justin Parizek were answered by strikes from Nate Repensky and Patrick Moore, but former Bobcat Sam Coborn dragged Nelson to his right before tapping the puck back to his left to push Aberdeen ahead 3-2 in the fifth round.
Stanislav Dzakhov was selected as the Bobcats final shooter and started to the right before cutting hard left to the net. Dzakhov beat Nagelvoort over the blocker but his rising shot glanced off the bottom of the crossbar and out, delivering Aberdeen their fifth straight win and 12th in their last 15 following an 18-game winless skid.
Nelson managed 25 saves but saw his record slip to 21-7-6. Nagelvoort improved to 7-0-1 in a Wings jersey behind 33 saves.
The Bobcats surely missed the veteran tandem of Adam Knochenmus and Shane Omdahl Saturday, as the Roseau, Minn., natives missed the contest due to injury. In games when both former Rams were in the lineup for 60 minutes, the Bobcats were 8-1-0 against Aberdeen; without them they were 0-0-3.
With Saturday’s season series finale in the books, the Bobcats finished with a record of 8-1-3 against Aberdeen in 2012-13, claiming their third straight Titan Machinery Dakota Cup by a margin of 19-10. Over the past two seasons, the Bobcats are 22-2-4 against the Wings, including playoffs.
Thanks to Minot’s 4-0 home loss to Austin, the Wings’ slim playoff hopes stayed alive; Aberdeen must win their final four games while Minot must lose their remaining four contests in regulation for the Wings to reach the postseason. A single point in the standings for the Minotauros would seal their first postseason bid based on the first tiebreaker of wins.
Meanwhile, the Bobcats used the point gained in overtime to shave their magic number—standings points gained by the Bobcats and lost by Brookings—for home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs to three with four games remaining for both the Cats and Blizzard.
Brookings’ 2-1 win Saturday over Coulee Region locked in the Blizzard as the Bobcats’ first-round playoff opponent, as the fourth-place Tauros can no longer catch either team.
Saturday’s contest also marked the Bobcats’ fourth annual St. Baldrick’s Night. The Cats once again partnered with Basin Electric Power Company and the St. Baldrick’s Foundation for the special charity event that saw the Bobcats sport special-edition green jerseys while Knochenmus, Jeremy O’Keefe, Omdahl, Giesler, Chris Diver, Sedevie, assistant coach Jim Peluso and director of broadcasting Paul Teeple all shaved their heads to raise awareness for childhood cancer in the US.
Following the game, the Bobcats auctioned off the green sweaters with the proceeds going to St. Baldrick’s, pulling in $9,125 on the night—bringing the team’s three-year total for the special-edition jerseys to nearly $30,000.
The Bobcats now hit the road for three of their last four regular season games, starting Friday when they open a two-game series at Riverside Arena against the regular season Central-winning Austin Bruins at 7:05 PM.
Friday’s top-two tilt 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 6:40 PM.
Bobcat fans can get 2013 Playoff Priority if they reserve 2013-14 season tickets today! Call the Bobcat Hockey office at (701) 222-3300 to reserve your seats for another year Championship Entertainment and get first crack at seats in the 2013 Robertson Cup Playoffs.