Nelson, Bobcat Penalty Kill Clamp Down for 2-1 Road Win
BISMARCK, ND – The Bismarck Bobcats got a stellar effort from goalie Aaron Nelson and rode a hot penalty kill to a 2-1 win over the Brookings Blizzard at the Larson Ice Center Friday.
Nelson made 38 saves on 39 shots while the ‘PK’ erased all five Brookings power plays on the night to capture the win, propel the Bobcats (11-10-2, 24 pts) to over .500 for the first time since September 12 and pull the Cats within two points of the second-place Blizzard (13-8-0, 26 pts) in the Central Division standings.
“Those are the two keys to how we won this game,” credited Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, “38-for-39 and 5-for-5. When you need to get a greasy win on the road that’s the kind of effort you need from all 20 guys [in the lineup].”
After killing off a penalty called just 13 seconds into the game, the Bobcats claimed an early lead as Mike Dockry grabbed a pass on the forecheck from Cory Chapman and spun a backhander through traffic that beat Brookings netminder Erick Majerle inside the far post for a 1-0 advantage.
Late in the first the Bobcats were dealt a 5-on-3 penalty kill that spanned 93 seconds, but Nelson made four big saves before Jeremy O’Keefe efforted a long clear-out to the Brookings zone to help negate the two-man advantage for the Blizzard.
The Bobcats swung the special teams advantage further in their favor over half-way through the second as Joe Giordano chipped home a third-chance goal off a Bob Kinne rush to make it 2-0 Bobcats with 8:38 left in the middle frame.
“That unit [Giordano, Kinne and Dockry] has moved the puck well all week and was rewarded with that goal,” explained Bobcats assistant coach Garrett Roth. “Before Joe got that one our power play was just a bit off on execution, but he overcame that with hard work.”
Brookings tightened the game to 2-1 with 13:47 to go in the third as Blizzard forward Jeff McFarland tipped a pass from the wall by Nick DeCenzo through Nelson’s legs, spoiling the Bobcat netminder’s shutout bid.
Nelson and the Bobcat ‘D’ tightened up from there, repelling a late tripping call on Levi Blom and keeping the Blizzard at bay after head coach Cory Laylin pulled Majerle for an extra attacker in the final minute and a half of regulation, preserving the 2-1 margin.
With the win, Nelson improves to 6-2-2 on the year. Majerle finished with 23 saves but suffered just his second loss of the 2012-13 season.
The Bobcats now return home to wrap up their four-game holiday week with a 7:15 PM rematch with the Blizzard Saturday at the VFW Sports Center.
Tickets are on sale now by calling the box office at 222-3300 or fans can buy and print their tickets online at BismarckBobcats.com.
Saturday’s holiday finale 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 6:45 PM.
Pro-rated 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.