Bobcats Spoil Monsters’ Home Opener 3-1
FRESNO, CA – The Bismarck Bobcats muscled up on defense to open their three-week, four-state road trip with a 3-1 win over the Fresno Monsters Friday at Selland Arena.
Bobcat netminder Aaron Nelson and Fresno goalie Tomas Sholl kept the game scoreless through most of the first period before Levi Blom disrupted a Monsters rush through neutral ice and sprung Cory Chapman on a 2-on-1. Chapman looked off a back-door feed to Sam Coborn before beaming a low-liner off Sholl’s blocker and in for his first career goal and a 1-0 Bobcat lead with 3:09 to go in the opening frame.
Fresno was able to equalize, however, 10:45 into the second on a broken play as the Bobcat defense blocked a point shot by Monster blueliner Drew Aspinwall but the rebound popped to Mitchell Snyder, who whipped the loose puck past Nelson before the second-year goalie could recover to his right, knotting the game at one.
Following a successful penalty kill on a Shane Omdahl tripping infraction, the Cats pulled ahead for good as Patrick Moore threaded a centering feed to Omdahl in the low slot that the Roseau, Minn., native was able to tap in past Sholl for a 2-1 lead just 3:55 after Snyder’s tally.
“You look to your big-time players to make big-time plays, and we got that from Shane, Patty and Adam [Knochenmus] on that one,” credited Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie. “You had a big crowd that was back in the game and if we don’t get that next goal, that place is rocking.”
The defenses settled in for the third period as both sides were forced to settle for long-range chances that Sholl and Nelson were able to turn away.
When Fresno opted to pull Sholl for the extra attacker in the final minute of action, Knochenmus made the home side pay: stealing the puck inside his own blue line and racing to the Monsters’ zone before popping the puck into the vacated net with 15 seconds to go for the final count of 3-1.
On the night, the Bobcat penalty kill was a perfect 4-for-4, allowing no more than two shots on any of Fresno’s man advantages to help send the announced crowd of 3,750 home unhappy.
“Our goal all night was to keep [the Monsters] away from the middle of the ice and give Aaron a good look at any shots,” explained second-year Bobcat defender Jeremy O’Keefe. “We needed to get back to basics on the ‘PK’ and [Friday] was a step in the right direction.”
Nelson collected 25 saves to pick up his second win in as many starts while Sholl was saddled with his third loss despite 17 stops.
The two sides will reconvene for the finale of their four-game season series Saturday with a 9:35 PM, CST, start at Selland Arena.
Saturday’s rematch 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 9:05.
Season tickets for the 2012-13 season are now on sale—and going fast! Call the Bobcat Hockey office today at (701) 222-3300 to reserve your seats for another great season of Championship Entertainment.