BISMARCK, ND – The Bismarck Bobcats will have a shot at a team record—along with four important divisional points—on the line as they finish out their five-game homestand Friday against the Aberdeen Wings at the VFW Sports Center before heading east for a Saturday tilt with the Alexandria Blizzard at the Runestone Center.
The Bobcats enter Friday’s installment of the Titan Machinery Dakota Cup having tied the franchise record of 12 straight home wins—a record set in 2002 by a Bobcat team led by Garrett Roth, now the Wings’ assistant coach under Pete Sauer.
“I had a nice chat with Garrett, and he told me he was going to give [the Wings] a heck of a pregame speech on Friday,” joked Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, who played his college hockey at Bemidji State with Roth. “But in all seriousness, we really want to play well Friday and try and deliver a new record in front of our fans, who really deserve it.”
As the Cats strive for the club’s all-time home mark, they’ll have to be mindful of Bobcat-killers Cory Ward and Steve Obarzanek, who have accounted for 11 of the Wings’ 17 goals scored against the Bobcats this season and are responsible for 19 of the 47 points Aberdeen has registered in the Dakota Cup.
Shutting down the dynamic duo, as history has shown, is easier said than done for the Bobcat defense.
“We need to know where they are at all times when they are on the ice,” explained Bobcats rookie defenseman Jeremy O’Keefe. “And when we see numbers 13 (Obarzanek) and 17 (Ward) out there, we have to immediately take away time and space from them. If we aren’t aggressive, they’ll pick us apart.”
Following Friday’s home contest, the Bobcats will pack up and head across I-94 for their second trip to Alexandria to take on a red-hot Blizzard team that has surged into second place thanks to a seven-game winning streak.
If the Bobcats want to create separation from the hard-charging Blizzard in the Central Division standings, they’ll need to sustain the recent momentum of a power play unit that has posted a blistering 9-for-27 mark in the Cats’ last six games.
“Alexandria likes to be aggressive on the ‘PK,’ so we need to be smart with our passes and make sure pucks get to the net,” assessed Bobcats leading scorer Castan Sommer, who has three power play goals in his last three contests. “Traffic has got to be there, because we know that [Blizzard goalie Jacob] Meyers is really tough to beat if he can see that first shot.”
The Bobcats will take their shot at team history Friday against the Wings starting at 7:15 PM, with Saturday’s away contest to follow at 7:30 PM from western Minnesota.
Both games 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 a half hour before each contest.
• The Bobcats are pleased to announce that they raised $1,500 for paralyzed Minnesota high school hockey player Jack Jablonski with last weekend’s special chuck-a-puck fundraiser. “We are thrilled our fans came out and supported a member of our hockey family, and encourage anyone who didn’t get a chance to give to visit a Wells Fargo branch near them and donate to the Jack Jablonski Fund,” said Bobcats team owner Thom Brigl.
• Injury news continues to improve for the Bobcats as both Frank DeAugustine (concussion) and Rory Vesel (jaw) skated with the team this week; both remain day-to-day. Forward Mike Dockry (hip), will return to practice next week. Dockry has not played since aggravating a lingering hip injury that required surgery in the Bobcats’ 4-3 win on October 1 at Minot.
• After video tape review, the Bobcats discovered that Sommer assisted Tyler Richter’s first period goal in Saturday’s 6-3 win over Coulee Region. Combining the assist with his two goals and his fight against Chill defenseman Eric Drapluk, Sommer gives the Cats their first “Gordie Howe Hat Trick” (goal, assist, fight) of 2011-12.
Season tickets are still available for the second half of the 2011-12 season—and going fast! Call the Bobcat Hockey office at (701) 222-3300 or email email@example.com for more information on reserving a pro-rated package for the rest of the season!