Newcomer Melton Triggers Offense as Bobcats Roll 5-1
BISMARCK, ND – Playing in his first game since a mid-week call-up from St. Louis of the NA3HL, Bismarck Bobcats forward Frankie Melton scored to spark a four-goal avalanche as the Cats pulled away from the Aberdeen Wings 5-1 Friday at the VFW Sports Center.
With the Bobcats mired in a 1-1 second period tie with the Wings and getting outshot 25-15 in their own building, Melton took a drop pass from Parker Mismash in transition and shook free into the low slot before lifting a backhander over the glove of Wings netminder Peter Thome and in, giving the home side a 2-1 lead with 3:02 left in the frame.
“With injuries to Jared Resseguie and Nick Alexander, plus a one-game suspension for Oskars Batna, we were very shorthanded [Friday], so [assistant coach] Garrett Roth suggested we call up Frankie,” explained Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, whose team hadn’t added any players since December 4 before Wednesday’s transaction, “and what a great call that turned out to be. He made some good plays and helped give us depth on a night we didn’t think we’d have much.”
In the third, the Bobcats came out gunning, outshooting Aberdeen 8-1 in the first eight minutes before Alex Strand tallied his second of the night with 11:43 to go in regulation, ramming home a Jordan Fralich rebound on the power play to stretch the Cats’ edge to 3-1.
Jared Pike made it 4-1 at the 6:54 mark, maintaining a shorthanded breakaway despite earning a delayed penalty for getting hooked down and beating Thome five-hole for the Cats’ second shorthanded strike of the year.
“That’s nine goals in 11 games—safe to say that Jared has been a stud for us since early December,” hailed Sedevie on his second-year winger, who notched the 50th point of his Bobcat career the game prior.
Melton helped cap off the Cats’ offensive eruption with 3:10 left in the game, zipping a low shot toward the right post that deflected off Mismash and in for the final 5-1 margin.
Strand dragged the Bobcats onto the board with 2:02 remaining in the opening stanza, cutting across the goal line and beating Thome with a bad-angle backhander inside the right post for a 1-0 score after one.
Tanner Okeson—a high school teammate of Strand in Roseau, Minn.— equalized for Aberdeen 1:50 into the second, rocketing a slap shot off the cross bar and in past Bobcat goalie Hunter Shepard to tie the game at one before the home team’s offense came alive.
Shepard denied 30 of 31 shots sent his way to pick up his 18th win of the season; Thome made 27 saves but slipped to 8-11-4.
Thanks to Friday’s win, the Bobcats clinch at least the second-best winning percentage for Tuesday’s standings freeze that will determine how many players each Central Division team will send to next month’s Top Prospects Tournament; first place will send five, second place will send four. They can seal up the Central’s best win percentage for Tuesday with a win Saturday.
The scene shifts Saturday to the Odde Ice Center for the back half of the home-and-home series for a 7:15pm rematch.
Saturday’s weekend 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.
Season tickets are still on sale for the 2015-16 season at a pro-rated price; if you want to beat the rush of over 40,000 fans for this year, now is the time! Call 222-3300 to reserve your seats today.