BISMARCK, ND – A three-goal rally by the Alexandria Blizzard evened the best-of-five Central Division Semifinals 2-2 as the top-seeded Blizzard topped the Bismarck Bobcats 3-1 Saturday at the VFW Sports Center, forcing a winner-take-all Game Five on Monday.
With the Bobcats leading 1-0 after two, Alexandria started their charge 4:39 into the third period when Reid Sturos found regular season second-leading league-wide scorer Nardo Nagtzaam on the back post for a tip-in past Bobcat goalie Tommy Burke to tie the game 1-1.
“We lost their top scorer on the rush and you just can’t do that,” said Bobcats head coach Layne Sedevie. “We need to do a better job of staying in our system for Game Five if we want to advance.”
Alexandria took their first lead with 4:26 to go in regulation when a loose puck bounded off Blizzard forward Brent Bain, off two Bobcat defenders and skidded over Burke’s goal line to make it 2-1.
The Bobcats attempted a furious rally but were stymied by a stiff trap deployed by the Blizzard in the final minutes, with Craig Lindegard putting the finishing touches on Alexandria’s third period surge with a empty net goal for the final 3-1 margin.
Dan Zawacki had the only goal of the first two periods, creating an offensive zone turnover to Tyler Richter, who returned the puck to Zawacki for a five-hole goal past Jake Williams to put the Bobcats up 1-0 with 6:09 left in the opening frame.
Burke made 27 saves but suffered his first playoff loss to drop to 2-1 in the postseason.
Williams finished with 30 saves to even his 2011 playoff record at 2-2.
Game Five, a win-or-go-home contest, will be Monday at 7:00 PM at the Runestone Center in Alexandria.
Monday’s series climax will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270, KLXX-AM, and worldwide at http://nahl.fasthockey.com/. As with all away games during the 2010-11 season, fans are encouraged to view the game at Reza’s Pitch—the official away game Home of the Bobcats—at the corner of Third and Front in Bismarck. Pre-game coverage will begin at 7:00 PM CT.
Season tickets are now on sale for the 2011-12 season! Call the Bobcat Hockey office at (701) 222-3300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on reserving your seats for next season!
2010 ROBERTSON CUP CHAMPIONS