Shepard, Bobcats Sneak past Brown Bears
BISMARCK, ND – Evan Giesler scored late in regulation and Hunter Shepard made 18 saves for his first career shutout as the Bismarck Bobcats edged the Kenai River Brown Bears 1-0 Friday at the VFW Sports Center.
With the win, the Bobcats move within five points of sewing up their seventh straight Robertson Cup Playoff bid—thanks to the Cats clinching the total wins tiebreaker over fifth-place Brookings.
Shepard weathered an early storm from the desperate Brown Bears, who now sit just four points from playoff elimination in the Midwest Division, turning away transition opportunities for Maurin Bouvet and Zack Zulkanycz in the first four minutes of the game.
“We gave up nine shots in the first but six of them were good scoring chances,” assessed Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, “especially on the rush. We needed to tighten up defensively and take away time and space.”
Defenseman Joe Tyran nearly gave the Cats the lead on a shorthanded rush with 6:53 left in the first, but fired a one-timer from Alex Strand wide right as Kenai River goalie Evan Hauser tried to recover to the left post.
Jared Turcotte had a chance to push the home side in front at the seven minute mark of the second, getting two chances to stuff home a backdoor pass from Jared Pike but Hauser held the right post to keep the game scoreless.
After Pike rang the crossbar mid-way through the final frame and Shepard denied yet another odd-man scoring chance for Bouvet, it seemed the game could be destined for extra time. Giesler, however, finally broke the deadlock with 6:51 to go in regulation—just 1:19 after Shepard stonewalled Bouvet: redirecting a high shot from Cole Souto under Hauser and in for a 1-0 lead.
Following the go-ahead tally the Bobcat defense held firm by not allowing another shot to find its way to Shepard—even with Hauser pulled late—to preserve the home victory.
Needing just nine saves after the first intermission, Shepard improved to .500 once again at 12-12-0. Hauser took the hard-luck loss, turning in 42 stops but suffering his 12th loss of 2014-15.
The two sides will reconvene for their final meeting of the season Saturday with a 7:15pm rematch.
Tickets are now on sale for the Cats’ last go-round with Kenai River: fans can buy and print tickets 24 hours a day at or charge by phone at 222-3300.
Live coverage of Saturday’s season series finale will start at 6:45pm locally on SuperTalk 1270, KLXX-AM, the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, and worldwide online at, the official web television partner of the North American Hockey League.
Though the 2014-15 season is entering its home stretch, pro-rated season tickets are still available for the last run of home games; fans who want to lock in their seats for the remainder of the campaign should call the Bobcat office at 222-3300 today!