BISMARCK, ND – The Bismarck Bobcats rode a five-goal first period and a three-for-four night on the power play to a 9-3 rout of the rival Alexandria Blizzard Saturday at the VFW Sports Center.
Rookie phenom Shame Omdahl got the Cats on the board 5:15 into the game, grabbing a loose puck in traffic and lobbing a backhand over the glove of goalie Jameson Shortreed for a quick 1-0 lead.
Alexandria responded, however, with 11:01 left in the first when Adam Knochenmus created an offensive zone turnover and fed Thomas Williams for a back-door one-timer that tied the game at 1-1.
The Bobcat offense took off after Williams’ equalizer, starting with a power play strike from Frank DeAugustine as the Pittsburgh native found a soft spot in the Blizzard penalty kill and roofed a go-ahead strike with 7:08 to go in the first.
Tyler Richter followed up DeAugustine’s tally with another power play strike just 2:13 later, redirecting a John Furgele centering feed past Shortreed for a 3-1 edge for the home side.
Patrick Moore continued the offensive explosion for the Bobcats, batting in an Omdahl rebound 63 seconds after Richter’s goal to push the lead to 4-1.
Blizzard head coach Doc DelCastillo pulled Shortreed following Moore’s marker, ending his night with 17 saves and a loss.
Moore’s linemate Castan Sommer capped the Cats’ first period outburst, redirecting a Dan Kovar shot off a faceoff win past relief goalie Zach Woodman for a 5-1 spread with 1:07 left in the opening frame.
On the night, the Moore-Omdahl-Sommer line combined for four goals and five assists.
“It was a new situation but everything clicked,” admitted Omdahl, who had a goal and six assists on the weekend, “Patty Moore stepped in and, what can you say? Three goals and we were all really comfortable with each other.”
The Blizzard attempted to climb back into the game early in the second as Justin Moody snapped a 20-foot shot through Bobcat goalie Tommy Burke’s five-hole to cut the lead to 5-2 just 2:28 into the middle frame.
Bobcat captain Bryce Schmitt pushed the lead back to four at 6-2 with 12:12 left in the second, rocketing a rising slap shot past Woodman’s blocker.
The Cats rang up a quick pair of goals in the first minute of the third from Dan Zawacki and Sommer for an 8-2 advantage with 19:10 left in regulation.
Furgele put the finishing touches on the Bobcats’ offense with the team’s third power play goal of the night, rocketing a one-timer from Dan Zawacki top shelf with 6:49 to go for a 9-2 lead.
“The power play had some great puck movement,” added Furgele, who had two points on the night. “We knew Alexandria would bring pressure, so the forwards put together some passes to suck in their ‘PK,’ which opened up a lot for us on the blue line.”
Alexandria gave the game its final 9-3 margin with 39 seconds left when Steve Heller tucked home a Vadim Gyesbreghs rebound.
Burke made 30 saves for his second straight win, improving to 3-1-0 on the year.
Woodman made 22 saves but did not factor into the decision.
The Bobcats will now hit the road for a four-game roadtrip, starting Friday with a 7:15 PM contest at Odde Ice Center against the Aberdeen Wings.
Friday’s resumption of the Dakota Cup 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 6:45.
Season tickets are now on sale for the 2011-12 season—and going fast! Call the Bobcat Hockey office at (701) 222-3300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on reserving your seats for the upcoming season!
2011 CENTRAL DIVISION CHAMPIONS