Lippai Scores First Goal, Bobcats Split in Austin

Mar 19, 2023

AUSTIN, MINN.–Attila Lippai scored his first career goal and Logan Valkama finished off his best weekend as a Bobcat in a 5-2 loss to the Austin Bruins at Riverside Arena on Saturday.

The two teams split the series. Bismarck finishes with a respectable head-to-head record of 3-4-1 against the central division’s top team.

Lippai, an 18-year-old from Woodbury, Minn. and the Cretin-Derham Hall high school hockey program, scored his first junior hockey goal in just his second career game, both with the Bobcats, on a one-time shot from the slot. The St. Thomas University commit recorded an assist on Friday for his first career point.

“He has been a nice player for us,” head coach Layne Sedevie said. “I think both of our new guys (Lippai and forward Kade Kohanski) have been good for us.”

After Lippai’s first period goal cut a 2-0 Bruins lead to 2-1, the Bobcats would not score again until Valkama banged home a sitting puck outside the crease with under eight minutes remaining in the third. The 21-year-old earned three points on the weekend–including a goal in each game–for the first time since joining the Bobcats in November.

Linards Lipskis stopped 28 of 32 Bruins shots in the loss. Bismarck’s season-long issue of being hesitant to shoot the puck reared its ugly head in this game. Adam Prokop, Austin’s goaltender, took the ice for only the second time at the NAHL level and did not appear comfortable with the puck. However, the Bobcats only put 23 shots on net.

“When we do get good looks, we just hang on to the puck,” Sedevie said. “Then they get blocked. You allow that defender back in the lane. It is something we have harped on for the last month … Last night, when we (got pucks on net), we had some second and third chances and some really good looks off it.”

The power play did not produce many chances, either. An 0-for-7 series extends the Bobcats’ drought to six consecutive games without a goal. Of note, all six games saw Bismarck face the division’s two best penalty kill units.

“We get the power play in our zone and set it up,” Sedevie said. “Then we can not make a 15-foot pass (that was) not under pressure. They do a good job of not allowing us to get set up, but when we did, we just could not execute. To me, that is the biggest thing from this team. From one to the other, our execution is not the same.”

With the Bobcats taking two points over the weekend and Aberdeen none, Bismarck stands five points out of the fourth and final playoff position with eight games remaining. The ‘Cats host the Wings next Friday and Saturday in what is almost certainly a must-win set of games.

“This (upcoming) series is huge,” Sedevie said. “This series is make or break. We came on the road and got two points, it is not the end of the world, but this one coming up will tell the story.”

The Bismarck Bobcats are home on Friday, March 24 and Saturday, March 25 against the Aberdeen Wings. Friday’s game is the Bobcats’ annual Brave the Shave night, sponsored by Sand Creek Corporation. Members of the team and staff will shave their hair in recognizance of childhood cancer in North Dakota. Fans can purchase tickets at or by calling the office at 222-3300.