Fladeby, Strand Lift Bobcats to 4-2 Win
BISMARCK, ND – On a night when he was honored for his pending trip to the 2016 World Junior Championships, Bismarck Bobcat forward Tobias Fladeby scored twice and his linemate Alex Strand netted the game-winner Friday as the Cats claimed a hard-fought 4-2 win over the rival Minot Minotauros at the VFW Sports Center.
Fladeby, who is bound for Vienna, Austria, to represent Team Norway after the weekend, got the scoring started 8:11 into the game, sending a one-timer off Minot goalie Lucas Murray and in for his fourth straight game with a goal and a 1-0 Bobcat lead.
Minot countered 3:35 later when the Bobcat defense got caught puck-watching on Minotauros captain Jared Brandt, who threaded a back door pass to a wide-open Jack Murphy, who slammed the biscuit in before netminder Hunter Shepard could recover to his right and tied the score at one.
For the fifth straight game, the Cats engineered a power play goal with 13:47 left in the second as Oskars Batna redirected a Patrik Demel shot inside the left post to help the home side regain a one-goal edge at 2-1.
Murphy, however, answered right back for the Minotauros at the 10:24 mark with a power play strike of his own, rifling home a Troy Degler rebound for his second of the night and a 2-2 tie.
“Through 40 minutes, it was a frustrating night,” evaluated Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, whose team entered Friday just 4-4-0 at home, “we gave away two leads in our own building. We just can’t do that.”
A major second-intermission forecheck adjustment by the Cats seemed to flummox the visitors and cause multiple turnovers inside the Minotauros’ zone, culminating in Strand swiping a Jacob Gammicchia outlet and quickly whipping a wrister through a screen set by Aide and in to snare a 3-2 lead with 8:27 left in regulation.
Consecutive penalties by the Bobcats in the 14th minute of the third gave Minot their best chance of the frame, but stalwart penalty killing by Strand, Cole Souto, Nick Wallace and Garrett Nelson—who subbed in when Wallace had to serve a coincidental minor assessed to Shepard—with some big stops by Shepard helped negate a full 1:30 of 5-on-3 time for the Minotauros and maintain the one-goal edge.
Despite a penalty on leading scorer Johnny Walker in the closing minutes of the game, Minot pulled Murray for the extra attacker but Fladeby affected another turnover deep in the Minotauro zone and wrapped the puck into the empty net with three seconds left for the game’s final 4-2 margin.
“Our third period [Friday] is how we should want to play all 60 minutes,” added Sedevie, whose team beat the Minotauros at home for just the second time since March 15, 2014. “Our guys played hard but also smart and took a bad couple of periods and still managed to get two huge points.”
Now the scene shifts north to Maysa Arena for a Saturday rematch at 7:35pm between North Dakota’s NAHL entries.
Saturday’s installment of the Battle of Highway 83 will be broadcast live locally on SuperTalk 1270, KLXX-AM, the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, and worldwide online at NAHL.FASTHockey.com—the official web television partner of the North American Hockey League—with pregame coverage starting at 7:05pm.
Season tickets are still on sale for the 2015-16 season at a pro-rated price; if you want to beat the rush of over 40,000 fans for this year, now is the time! Call 222-3300 to reserve your seats today.
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