Four-Goal Surge Propels Bobcats

BISMARCK, ND – The Bismarck Bobcats rattled off four straight third-period goals and turned a tight game into a 5-1 laugher over the Owatonna Express Friday night at the VFW Sports Center.

Deadlocked in a 1-1 game after two periods, the Bobcats broke the tie just 28 seconds into the third when Nick Miglio wobbled a puck to the front of the net that careened off Dan Zawacki and trickled past Express goalie Brock Kautz to give the home side a 2-1 edge.

72 seconds of hockey later, the Bobcats pushed the lead to 3-1 on the power play as Nikolaj Rosenthal redirected a Danny Ray slap-pass into the Owatonna net.

Matt Gates added some insurance 3:06 after Rosenthal’s goal, taking a drop pass on a 3-on-1 from Miglio and rocketing a snapshot that beat Kautz glove side to extend the Cats’ advantage to 4-1.

“Migs has been working really hard and playing some great hockey, and is improving every game,” noted Gates, who added four assists to his goal for a total of five points on the night. “The pass he made on that goal is just a small example of everything he’s been doing for our team over the last two-plus months.”

Ray put an exclamation point on the Bobcats’ outburst with 8:40 left in regulation, beaming a rising power play slapshot through traffic that glanced off the crossbar and in for the final 5-1 margin.

Things got heated down the stretch, as the teams combined for 36 penalty minutes in the final 10 minutes of the game, including Express forward Lawrence Cornellier and defenseman Matt Youso each racking up 14 minutes on their own. Youso also merited a game ejection after hitting Gates face-first into the boards with 2:38 left—opening a two-inch cut across Gates’ right cheek.

“I feel fine, actually,” Gates said with a chuckle, dismissing the possibility of a concussion after the blow to the head. “I remember everything; it didn’t even really hurt, I just remember that my face was kind of numb where the dasher cut me. I wouldn’t have missed a shift if I hadn’t been bleeding, I don’t think.”

Following a scoreless first period, the teams traded goals in the second as newly acquired Donald Olivieri got the Cats on the board with 6:14 left in the middle frame, only to be answered by a power play strike from Owatonna’s Nick Widing 1:17 later for a 1-1 tie heading into the third.

The presence of Olivieri and Rodney LaLonde—both acquired Thursday from the Texas Tornado—made a difference, particularly in the physical game, where the blueline duo ignited the Bobcat bench with bone-crunching hits starting early in the game.

“We’re already starting to call them the ‘Bash Brothers,’ because they just love to get out there and lay the lumber,” added Gates. “Having them, along with Castan [Sommer, acquired Wednesday from Dubuque], made a huge difference for us tonight.”

Faragher, who faced just four shots in the third period, made short work of 18 out of 19 Express shots en route to his 22nd win of 2010-11.

Kautz, who replaced starting goalie Charlie Williams 2:19 into the game, made 26 saves but fell to 4-7-1 on the year.

The Bobcats will wrap their three-game weekend as the Aberdeen Wings make a return trip to the VFW Sports Center for a 7:15 PM contest.

The latest installment of the Titan Machinery Dakota Cup will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270, KLXX-AM, and worldwide at Pre-game coverage will begin at 6:45 PM CT.

Season tickets are now on sale for the 2010-11 season! Call the Bobcat Hockey office at (701) 222-3300 or email for more information on reserving your seats for the entire season as the Bobcats look to defend the Robertson Cup!