Bobcats Hang on to Win through Magicians Rally
RICHFIELD, MN – The Bismarck Bobcats withstood a late pushback from the Minnesota Magicians to nail down a 3-2 win Friday at Richfield Ice Arena to regain sole possession of first place in the NAHL’s Central Division.
A dominant start to the game for the Bobcats led to a 1-0 lead on the power play as third-year center Alex Strand caught Magicians netminder Will Ulrich off balance and wrapped home the puck inside the left post for his team-best 20th goal with 10:07 left in the first.
Jared Pike kept the power play clicking with 3:16 remaining in the frame, redirecting a point shot by Travis Wood inside the right post to stretch the lead to 2-0 after one.
Strand notched the only goal of the second, streaking behind the Minnesota defense off passes from Harrison Aide and goalie Hunter Shepard on the power play and lifting a wrister over Ulrich’s glove to make it 3-0 at the 6:18 mark of the stanza.
That 3-0 edge lasted until deep into the third, when four straight penalties by the Bobcats allowed the Magicians to get on the board at 3-1 as Mitch Slattery lofted a no-angle backhand over Shepard’s blocker, off the crossbar and in with 6:23 remaining in regulation.
Just 2:47 later, Minnesota pulled within one at 3-2 when Jack Christensen slammed home a centering pass from Jacob Gammicchia—putting the Magicians right back into the game.
From there, though, the Bobcats locked down the game: allowing no shots in the final 3:36 to salt away a 3-2 win.
In addition to his assist, Shepard submitted a 20-save night to pick up his 26th win of the season. Ulrich dropped to 13-13-3 on 26 stops.
With the victory, the Bobcats (27-15-1, 55 pts) reclaimed the division’s top spot for themselves, two points clear of idle Minot (24-16-5, 53 pts).
The two sides will reconvene for a Saturday rematch at 7:00pm to close out the weekend.
Saturday’s series finale will be broadcast live locally on SuperTalk 1270, KLXX-AM, the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, and worldwide online at NAHL.FASTHockey.com—the official web television partner of the North American Hockey League—with pregame coverage starting at 6:30pm.
Season tickets are still on sale for the 2015-16 season at a pro-rated price; if you want to beat the rush of over 40,000 fans for this year, now is the time! Call 222-3300 to reserve your seats today.