Bobcats Charge into Robertson Cup Play
FRISCO, TX – Back at the national tournament for the second straight year and sixth time in franchise history, the Bismarck Bobcats are set to open Robertson Cup play Friday at Dr. Pepper Arena as they take on the West Division Champion Wenatchee Wild to lift the curtain on the North American Hockey League’s championship tournament.
“Every season starts with the same goal for every team: the Robertson Cup,” explained Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie. “That goal is within reach for us right now, but the first thing in front of us is the round robin. We have to come out and play hard for three games to even have a chance of playing Monday for the championship.”
The Bobcats have a head of steam coming into the tournament, having gone 6-1 in the divisional playoffs to capture their fifth consecutive Central Division crown, but kick things off against a Wild team that frustrated them in the regular season; the Cats went 0-3-1 in four games in September and November against Wenatchee.
Since a 3-2 overtime loss November 3 at Town Toyota Center to the Wild, the Bobcats turned over roughly a third of their roster and compiled a 34-9-8 record over the rest of the regular season and playoffs.
“We know we’re a different team from the last time we saw Wenatchee, but it’s up to us to go out there and play like it,” explained Bobcats captain Adam Knochenmus, who has six points in seven playoff games after leading the Bobcats in regular-season points with 51. “Because we know the Wild are a talented, well-coached team that can beat you in a lot of ways.”
Opening day at the 2012 Robertson Cup in Frisco was a nightmare scenario for the Bobcats, who gave up four straight goals to Port Huron en route to a 5-1 day one loss that set the tone for a 1-2 round robin and disappointing end to a record-setting year for the black and gold.
While most teams might use the specter of such a performance as motivation, holdovers from the 2011-12 squad view last year’s national tournament simply as a lesson for this season’s championship weekend.
“You can look back at last season and say things like ‘we were just happy to be there’ and ‘we took things for granted,’” admitted Shane Omdahl, who scored the game-winning goal Saturday that sealed the Bobcats’ Division Finals series victory over the Austin Bruins, “but now we know, and we hope that it’s a lesson learned. And we know that it’s not very often you get a second chance like [our veteran players] have this weekend.”
Friday’s tournament opener is scheduled for a 4:30 PM start. The Bobcats will continue round-robin play Saturday at 7:30 PM when they face the South Division champion Amarillo Bulls before wrapping up the weekend with a 7:30 PM tilt with the Jamestown Ironmen, winners of the North Division.
Friday’s Robertson Cup lid-lifter 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 4:00 PM.