Bobcats’ Streak Derailed by Buzzer Beater
BISMARCK, ND – Just as their Friday clash with first place on the line looked destined for overtime, the Bismarck Bobcats were stunned by a goal at the final buzzer that dealt them a heartbreaking 3-2 defeat at the hands of the archrival Minot Minotauros at the VFW Sports Center—snapping the Cats’ five-game win streak.
Deadlocked at two with less than 10 seconds left in regulation, the Bobcats managed to tie up the puck on the wall, but it slipped free and a turnover on the half-wall freed Christian Mohs, Minot’s leading scorer, to tap the puck in past Bobcat goalie Hunter Shepard right at the horn. The referees huddled repeatedly after the goal was initially signaled, and after multiple conferences the game was ruled to be over, leaving the home side with a gut-punch 3-2 defeat.
Just as they had in Minot’s previous visit on February 12—a 3-1 defeat—the Bobcats struck first Friday as winger Jared Pike took an entry from Willie Brown at the left wing circle and skated into the slot before zipping a low shot through the legs of netminder Gunner Rivers for a 1-0 lead just 4:38 into the game.
That lead would not survive the opening stanza, however; the Minotauros pulled even at the 12:05 mark on a broken play when Derek Frentz’s transition centering pass was blocked right back to the Minot center, allowing to stretch the play to his left before efforting a low shot back across his body and in under Shepard’s right leg for a 1-1 tie.
Neither team was able to break through in the second, but first-year Bobcat forward Nick Alexander broke the deadlock 8:05 into the third, lofting a wrister into the top right corner of the net in his first appearance in 15 games to push the Cats back in front at 2-1.
Minot battled back again, tying the score at two with 6:59 as a slap shot from blueliner Joe Nathe deflected off a Bobcat defender over Shepard’s glove and in, setting the stage for the game’s dramatic conclusion.
Shepard made 19 saves but needed one fewer second on the clock to avoid just his 10th loss of 2015-16—six at the hands of Minot. Rivers improved to 5-1-2 with the Minotauros behind 25 stops.
Friday’s result drops the Bobcats (30-16-1, 61 pts) into a first-place tie with Minot (28-17-5, 61 pts) atop the Central Division, with three games in hand on their northern rivals.
While the final score served as a disappointment for the Cats, their seventh annual Brave the Shave Night was a smashing success, as head coach Layne Sedevie and players Cole Souto, Joe Tyran, Pike, Oskars Batna, Jared Resseguie, Alexander, Solag Bakich, Parker Mismash and Jordan Fralich all shaved their heads to raise funds and awareness for pediatric cancer. The team auctioned off their sixth edition Brave the Shave uniforms following the game, raising $6050 for Sanford Cancer’s fight against childhood cancer in the region.
The Bobcats will head out Saturday for their first of three straight road games when they travel to the Larson Ice Center to face the Brookings Blizzard for a 7:30pm tilt.
Saturday’s road battle 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 7:00pm.
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.