Bobcats Explode to 5-1 Rout of Brookings
BISMARCK, ND – Trailing early in the second period, the Bismarck Bobcats popped off five straight goals en route to a decisive 5-1 victory over the visiting Brookings Blizzard Wednesday at the VFW Sports Center.
With the win, the Bobcats (28-15-6, 62 pts) pull three points ahead of the Blizzard (27-18-5, 59 pts) in the race for home ice advantage in the Central Division playoffs.
Following a scoreless first period, Drew Brevig put the visiting Blizzard ahead 1-0 just six seconds into the second period on a 5-on-3 power play, stuffing in a third-chance opportunity off a Justin Moody rebound after Bobcat goalie Aaron Nelson came up with saves on the first two shots
Evan Giesler dialed up a response for the Bobcats 3:15 later, redirecting a Matt Anders shot through the legs of Brookings netminder Chase Wilson and in for his first career junior goal in his 24th career appearance.
“It was a big goal because it tied the game, in our biggest game of the year so far,” noted Giesler, who also logged big minutes for the Bobcat penalty kill Wednesday. “It’s a great feeling, of course, to get that first goal but the biggest thing was finding a way to get back into it after [Brevig’s] goal.”
With 12:27 to go in the middle frame, Stanislav Dzakhov grabbed a long clear-out pass from Giesler and raced in behind the Brookings defense before drawing Wilson into committing low early and then dekeing to the right and tapping the puck into a wide-open net to give the Cats their first lead at 2-1.
Defenseman Levi Blom doubled the lead to 3-1 less than three minutes later, launching a rolling shot through a Ryan Callahan screen and inside the left post at the 9:30 mark for the blueliner’s fourth tally of 2012-13.
Dzakhov connected on his second of the night and ninth of the year 78 seconds after Blom’s strike, taking an entry on the rush from linemate Filip Starzynski and rifling a low wrister under Wilson’s glove to extend the Cats’ advantage to 4-1. The goal ended the night for Wilson, who finished with 20 saves and eventually took the loss, his first; Drew Weigman took Wilson’s place in the Brookings net.
“Stan was a stud out there for us [Wednesday], pure and simple,” credited Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie. “When we were down 5-0 Saturday in Austin, I came into that one locker room and there was one guy who was just mad: Stan. He’s played with fire since; he was our best player out there in the second.”
Dan Kovar put an exclamation point on the win for the Cats with a power play score, ripping a low liner that deflected off Brookings penalty killer Eric Brenk and in past Weigman with 4:25 left in the game for the final 5-1 count.
In net, Aaron Nelson piled up 33 saves to lock down his 20th win of 2012-13, marking the fifth straight season that a Bobcat goaltender has amassed 20 wins. Other goalies to reach 20 wins in that span include David Bosner (2008-09, 24) Ryan Faragher (2009-10, 23; 2010-11, 30) and Tommy Burke (2011-12, 31).
Weigman made seven saves in relief of Wilson but did not factor into the decision.
The Bobcats now strike out for a critical two-game road weekend, with a 7:35 contest Friday at Maysa Arena against the Minot Minotauros before their final game at Larson Ice Center in Brookings in the regular season Saturday at 7:00 PM.
Friday’s in-state road 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 7:05 PM.
Pro-rated season tickets for the 2012-13 season are now on sale—and going fast! Call the Bobcat Hockey office today at (701) 222-3300 to reserve your seats for another great season of Championship Entertainment.