Missed Connections

Missed Chances Cost Cats to Close 2014
BISMARCK, ND – The Bismarck Bobcats couldn’t cash in their best scoring opportunities while the Minot Minotauros converted a handful of Bobcat turnovers to best the Cats 4-1 Wednesday in front of a season-high crowd of 1,566.
A slow start put the Cats in an early hole as Nick Monfils cashed in a steal from Colton Kramer a mere 1:16 into the game to post the Tauros to a fast 1-0 lead.
That advantage would grow to 2-0 with 4:22 left in the first as another giveaway led to a misdirection play that saw Jon Lizotte grab a pass intended for Chase Springman and fire a low snap shot under the blocker of Bobcat goalie Alex Bitsakis.
Minot stretched it out to a three-goal lead at 3-0 with just 1:55 gone in the second as Blake Lizotte danced out of the left corner and tucked the puck under Bitsakis’ glove for his ninth goal of the year.
The Bobcats came hard at the Tauros early in the third in a bid to get back in the game, but opportunities by Jared Spooner, Jared Pike and Tony German all missed the mark.
Assistant captain Alex Strand finally broke the spell of Minot netminder Atte Tolvanen with 6:35 left in regulation, scorching a wrist shot over Tolvanen’s glove to snap the Finn’s five-plus period shutout streak against the Cats and cut the score to 3-1.
Moments later Evan Giesler rushed back up the ice on a 2-on-1, but had his shot partially deflected and harmlessly saved by Tolvanen.
A late penalty on Jared Turcotte would seal the home side’s fate, however; James Mathias tapped in a back-door feed from Nick Monfils on the ensuing power play with 1:44 remaining, boosting the frontrunning Minotauros to the final margin of 4-1.
Wednesday marked a remarkably calm game in a testy season series: producing a combined eight penalty minutes between the Bobcats and Minotauros after the previous four meetings had over 300 PIM on aggregate.
The Cats return to the road to open 2015, now, with a two-game set looming Friday and Saturday against the Minnesota Wilderness, who jumped back into first place in the Midwest Division on Wednesday. Both games will begin at Northwoods Credit Union Arena at 7:05pm.
Live coverage of the Cats’ first foray of 2015 will begin at 6:40pm 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 has passed the half-way mark, 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!