BISMARCK, ND – The Bismarck Bobcats rallied in the third period and team captain Matt Gates completed the comeback in overtime, lifting the Cats to a 4-3 win over the Aberdeen Wings on Thankgiving Night at the VFW Sports Center.
Following a Danny Ray shot-block on an Aberdeen rush early in overtime, Nikolaj Rosenthal triggered a 3-on-2 rush into the Wings zone. Rosenthal made a slick move past Aberdeen blueliner Mitch Sand to turn the play into a 3-on-1 before feeding Gates in the high slot. Gates pulled the puck to his backhand and powered a low shot past sprawling Wings netminder Hunter Leisner—triggering a jubilant celebration in the Aberdeen corner.
“It felt so good to put that home and get the win over [the Wings],” beamed Gates, who now has three goals in his last three games. “I knew with so much open ice we’d get a great scoring chance and when Nikolaj hit me after that great dangle, I was feeling it and went to the net.
“The biggest thing was making sure I didn’t miss.”
The Bobcats drew first blood 8:30 into this sixth installment of the 2010-11 Titan Machinery Dakota Cup when Dan Zawacki chipped a no-look backhander past Leisner just 8:30 into the game.
“Gates hit me with a great pass out of the corner and I thought about trying to hit [Nick] Miglio with a back-door pass but that didn’t develop. I think [Leisner] was waiting for the pass, too, so I just threw one in on him and I’m not sure he was ready for it.”
Aberdeen responded late in the first, though, as Tyler Poulsen stung home a Mack Ohnsted rebound with 6:24 left in the first.
The Wings responded to an early second-period Brett Bower score for the Cats with consecutive goals from C.J. Pullar and Mitch Sand to stake themselves to a 3-2 lead after two.
“The second period was some of our best hockey of the night,” noted Bobcats head coach Layne Sedevie, whose team outshot the Wings 14-9 in the middle frame, “so it was frustrating in a way to see us down on the scoreboard. I told our guys to keep doing the same things in the third because that’s how we’d win.”
In the final frame, the Bobcats defensively blanketed the Wings, holding them to just one shot for the entire period while Sam Dougherty evened the score—driving home a deflected centering feed from Emerson Auvenshine with 11:11 left in regulation to force the decisive overtime and set up Gates’ heroics.
Bobcats goalie Ryan Faragher—who faced just two shots total after the second intermission—made 20 saves in securing his league-leading 13th win Thursday.
Leisner suffered the overtime loss, falling to 8-10-2, behind 29 saves; facing 26 shots in the second period, third period and overtime.
The Bobcats will wrap up their two-game holiday week with a 7:30 PM showdown against the rival Alexandria Blizzard at the Runestone Center on Friday.
Friday’s contest will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270, KLXX-AM, and worldwide at http://nahl.fasthockey.com/. As with all away games during the 2010-11 season, fans are encouraged to view Friday’s game at Reza’s Pitch—the official away game Home of the Bobcats—at the corner of Third and Front in Bismarck. Pre-game coverage will begin at 7:00 PM CT.
Season tickets are now on sale for the 2010-11 season! Call the Bobcat Hockey office at (701) 222-3300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on reserving your seats for the entire season as the Bobcats look to defend the Robertson Cup!
2010 ROBERTSON CUP CHAMPIONS