Late Tally Lifts Bobcats over Magicians 3-2
BISMARCK, ND – Knotted at two and barreling toward overtime, Alex Strand scored in the last two minutes to spur the Bismarck Bobcats to a dramatic 3-2 win over the visiting Minnesota Magicians Friday at the VFW Sports Center.
Carrying a 1-0 lead into the third, the Cats saw their advantage swell to 2-0 just 98 seconds into the frame when Travis Wood notched his second goal of the night on a power move to the front of the Minnesota net before beating netminder Will Ulrich with a low shot through the five-hole.
Battling back as they have all year against the Bobcats, the Magicians got transition goals in a 1:34 span from Braxton Collins and Michael Wilson to level the score at two with 12:33 still left in the final stanza.
The Bobcats steadied themselves after Minnesota’s heavy counterpunch, outshooting the visitors 7-3 the rest of the way.
Strand delivered the game’s biggest heroics with 1:38 to go on a 2-on-2 rush when Nick Alexander feathered a pass to the left hash mark and Strand, fighting through contact, punched a one-time snap shot inside the left post to deliver a late 3-2 edge.
A last-minute hooking infraction on the Bobcats gave the Magicians one last chance for an equalizer, but the Bobcat penalty kill got three clears and prevented Minnesota from getting any shots through to goalie Hunter Shepard to preserve the 3-2 victory.
Wood submitted the only goal the first two periods Friday, spinning out from behind the Minnesota net and sending a looping wrister that caught the inside of Ulrich’s right leg pad and deflected in with 2:16 remaining in the second to make it 1-0 for the Bobcats.
Shepard turned in 19 saves to improve to 32-11-3 on the year. Ulrich’s 37 stops were not enough to avoid his 17th loss of 2015-16.
Friday’s victory helped the Bobcats (35-18-4, 74 pts) stay one point ahead of Minot (34-18-5, 73 pts) for first place in the Central Division. Minnesota (23-27-7, 53 pts) stayed ahead of Aberdeen (21-25-11, 53 pts) on the wins tiebreaker for the division’s fourth and final playoff spot.
The two sides will reconvene for a 7:15pm Saturday rematch that will stand as the Cats’ final regular-season home game of 2015-16.
Tickets are now on sale for Saturday’s grudge match: fans can buy and print tickets online at BismarckBobcats.com, click “Shop Now” on the team Facebook page or charge-by-phone at 222-3300.
Saturday’s home finale will be broadcast live 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—with pregame coverage starting at 6:45pm.
Now that the Bobcats are in the playoffs, now is the time to reserve your 2016-17 season tickets! All new season ticket buyers will receive Playoff Priority for the Cats’ 2016 Robertson Cup Playoff. Fans can call 222-3300 to reserve their seats and get Playoff Priority.
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