BISMARCK, N.D.–Calvin Hanson and Adam Pietila scored two goals each in a 4-1 Bismarck Bobcats victory over the North Iowa Bulls at the VFW Sports Center on Friday.
Pietila made a 16-5 first-period shot advantage pay off with a power play goal in the final two seconds of the frame. It was Bismarck’s first goal on the man advantage since February 25, snapping a streak that had gone on for far too long.
“It was traffic in front and a rebound,” head coach Layne Sedevie said. “It was pretty simple. You have to score goals that way, too. It is not always the pretty play … Sometimes it is the greasy one in front. We had good traffic, and there was a puck laying there that Adam buried.”
With that monkey off their backs, the Bobcats’ defense locked down in the second and third periods against a red-hot North Iowa team. A scoreless second gave way to a three-goal output for Bismarck in the third.
Hanson scored twice in a span of 4:37 early in the third period to give the Bobcats much-needed insurance. Both goals came off takeaways. With a pair here, the Hallock, Minn. native now leads the team with 21 goals this year. Pietila added an empty-netter in the waning seconds to ice the game. Jackson Bisson scored the Bulls’ only goal with 3:15 remaining.
“I thought the guys played well,” Sedevie said. “The biggest part is that they did not quit. It was a must-win, and (every game is) from here on out. I am proud of the effort.”
Hanson’s multi-goal effort, his sixth this season, came with help from a newly-formed third line. Brandon Reller and Kade Kohanski combined with Hanson for energy and speed all night. Analytics showed that line to be Bismarck’s best.
“Kade was really good tonight,” Sedevie said. “Good poise with the puck. I thought they worked hard, and obviously Cal gets the second goal to give us some separation. I thought that line was really good. Kade stepped in and needs to play big minutes for us.”
Linards Lipskis stopped 26 of 27 for his 12th win of the season. Lipskis is 2-0-1 against North Iowa this season. Mitchell Day made 31 saves in the loss.
With the victory, Bismarck is 24-25-6 and four points outside playoff position. Another must-win game comes on Saturday against the Bulls.
“I told them before this game that nobody gave us a chance last year,” Sedevie said. “I guarantee nobody right now is giving us a chance. Just take it one game at a time. All that matters is that we win tonight, and move forward, and worry about tomorrow night tomorrow.”
The Bismarck Bobcats are home on Saturday, April 1 against the North Iowa Bulls. Puck drop is 7:15 p.m. Fans can purchase tickets at tickets.bismarckbobcats.com or by calling the office at 222-3300.