BISMARCK, ND – With his team trailing 1-0 after two periods, Dan Kovar notched his first career goal 5:18 into the third, triggering a rush of five unanswered to propel the Bobcats to a 5-1 win over the Minot Minotauros at the VFW Sports Center on Friday.
“I think I was probably less excited that it was my first goal than I was that we tied it up,” admitted Kovar, whose power play score was initially credited to Bryce Schmitt. “Frankie [DeAugustine] made a nice pass and swung across to confuse the shot blockers and Bryce set a perfect screen to make it happen.”
A mere 93 seconds later, Tyler Richter scored his second shorthanded goal in as many games, blowing a transition shot off Tauros goalie Tim Shuaghnessy that trickled inside the far post for a 2-1 lead that the Cats would not relinquish. The goal, Richter’s eleventh of the year, marked his fourth score and second game-winner in the past three games.
Castan Sommer continued the three-minute drill for the Bobcats, ringing home a Patrick Moore rebound for a 3-1 lead just two minutes and 43 seconds after Kovar got the Bobcats on the board.
Dan Zawacki continued the home side’s relentless third-period assault, putting back his own rebound while falling forward for his fourth of the 2011-12 season and a 4-1 Bobcat edge with 4:30 left to go.
Sommer capped off the Cats’ rally, blasting a one-timer from Patrick Moore past Shaughnessy with 2:26 remaining in the game for the final count of 5-1.
Prior to Kovar’s spark, the Bobcats found themselves mired in a 1-0 deficit that was due in equal parts to a shorthanded goal with 3:19 left in the first period by Minot’s Kelvin Walz and brilliant goaltending through the first two-plus periods by Shaughnessy.
Through the first 45 minutes of Friday’s game, Shaughnessy racked up 29 saves before the Bobcats punched a hole in his brick wall.
“Give a lot of credit to Shaughnessy tonight,” noted Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, “he stood on his head and made some big saves to keep us off the board in the first and second.
“By that same token, though, I didn’t think our guys were ready to play. Puck drop was at 7:15 and I didn’t think a lot of them really brought any intensity until the third period. Once things got rolling though, it became clear what a special bunch we have here when guys play their hardest.”
Shaughnessy finished with 37 saves in a losing effort.
Bobcat netminder Tommy Burke, tested early by Minot’s offense, turned back 21 of 22 Minotauros shots for his league-leading 11th win of the season.
The Bobcats continue their weekend of regional rivalries Saturday with game five of the Dakota Cup as the Aberdeen Wings come to town for a 7:15 PM showdown.
Saturday’s weekend 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 http://nahl.fasthockey.com. Pregame coverage gets under way at 6:45.
Season tickets are now on sale for the 2011-12 season—and going fast! Call the Bobcat Hockey office at (701) 222-3300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on reserving a pro-rated package for this season!