Let’s Go Crazy

Bobcats Rally in Wild Third to Top Aberdeen 4-2
BISMARCK, ND – Amid a crazy third period that saw five combined goals and 57 aggregate penalty minutes, the Bismarck Bobcats gutted out a 4-2 win over the Aberdeen Wings Friday at the VFW Sports Center.
Staked to a 1-0 lead through two periods, the Bobcats saw their edge vanish with 5:52 gone in the third on a double-minor penalty kill when winger Carson Dimoff ripped a close-range shot in past Bobcat goalie Severi Isokangas to tie the game at one.
Dimoff’s power play marker halted Isokangas’ shutout streak at 1:45:52 dating back to the previous Saturday.
Aberdeen then took the lead at 2-1 a mere 1:39 later on another power play goal, this time from Joey Strada on a rolling backhander through traffic that beat Isokangas five-hole as he fell backward.
The entire game hinged on a 63-second span at the mid-point of the third, starting with a holding penalty on Wings captain Gage Mackie with 10:10 left in the stanza. 14 seconds into the ensuing man advantage, the Bobcats were given a 5-on-3 power play when Aberdeen netminder Forbes Ploszaj was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for spearing Zach Kennedy in his goal crease.
Just 24 seconds into that 5-on-3, the Cats rudely welcomed replacement backstop Arttu Kulmala as Jordan Fralich ripped a low slap shot that beat Kulmala in traffic to knot the score at two.
Before the crowd of 1,233 could find their seats, alternate captain Nick Alexander put the Bobcats right back in front at 3-2, redirecting a point shot from Fralich inside the left post—just 25 seconds after his equalizer—with 9:07 to go in regulation.
Though Aberdeen pressed for the equalizer—including pulling Kulmala in the final two minutes—they could not crack Isokangas.
With 40 seconds to go, an obscure rule earned the Bobcats an empty-net insurance marker as Matt Barry fluttered a slow roller into the Aberdeen end as Cooper Haar got behind the defense for what looked to be the dagger. Before the Huntington Beach, Calif., native could get a shot off, he was ripped down from behind by blueliner Jack Kelly, triggering an “awarded goal” for Haar, as there were no defenders between the rookie winger and the net for the final 4-2 margin.
The only goal of the first 40 minutes came on the Bobcats’ first shot of the night as Barry threaded a low wrister under Ploszaj’s blocker with 5:16 elapsed in the game.
Isokangas made 25 saves to nail down his second straight win and improve to 6-4-1 since his January arrival. Kulmala took the loss, stopping two of the four shots he faced; Ploszaj turned away 17 of 18 pucks sent his way but did not factor into the final decision.
Both sides will reconvene Saturday for their final regular season head-to-head meeting, scheduled for a 7:15pm puck drop.
Tickets are now on sale for Saturday’s grudge match: fans can buy and print tickets 24 hours a day at BismarckBobcats.com or charge by phone at 222-3300.
Saturday’s season series finale will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270 AM, and worldwide on HockeyTV.com–the web television partner of the North American Hockey League–with pregame coverage starting at 6:50pm.
Pro-rated season tickets are now on sale for the Bobcats’ landmark platinum anniversary campaign fans can get more information or reserve their seats for all of Season Twenty now by calling 222-3300.