Batna's Quick Strike Lifts Bobcats over Wings
ABERDEEN, SD — Bismarck Bobcats forward Oskars Batna scored 12 seconds into the third period and the Bobcat defense held the fort the rest of the way as the Cats edged the Aberdeen Wings 2-1 Saturday at Odde Ice Center.
Faced with a 1-1 tie after two, rookie Jared Turcotte led a charge into the Wings' zone off the faceoff to start the third period. When the Aberdeen defense blocked Turcotte's shot, the puck rolled to Batna, who lifted a backhand into the top left corner of the net to push the Cats ahead 2-1.
From there, the Bobcat defense spread out Aberdeen's attack, allowing just 10 shots in the period to hold the Wings at bay.
With goalie Chad Catt pulled, the Wings got their best look at an equalizer with seven seconds left when Daniel Billett found Tanner Okeson with a back-door feed, but Bobcat netminder Alex Bitsakis recovered to his left to deny the opportunity with his glove.
Aberdeen would not get another shot, as time expired on a 2-1 Bobcat victory.
Neither side was able to score until there was 2:12 left in the second when Cullen Willox pushed the Cats in front at 1-0, hammering a one-timer from Harrison Aide in over Catt's glove.
That lead would last just 23 seconds, as the Wings evened the score thanks to Will Hammer putting back his own rebound to send the game into the second intermission in a 1-1 tie.
Bitsakis nailed down his third straight win, and fifth victory overall, behind 27 saves. The first-year Bobcat made 60 saves on 61 shots for the weekend.
Catt took the loss despite 23 stops.
Before the Bobcats head east for their only visit of the season to Austin, Minn., to face the rival Bruins, they will be in Dickinson, ND, Tuesday for an 8:00pm exhibition game against the Minot Minotauros at the Dickinson Recreation Center.
Regular season play will then resume Friday at Riverside Arena against the Bruins at 7:00pm.
Live coverage of Friday's tilt against the first-place Bruins will begin at 6:30pm 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.
Though the 2014-15 season is now under way, there is still time to order season tickets for the year; fans who want to lock in their seats for the entire campaign should call the Bobcat office at 222-3300 today!