Mission: Still Accomplished

ONALASKA, WI – The Bismarck Bobcats dropped Game Two of the Central Division Finals 6-3 to the Coulee Region Chill Saturday at the Omni Center as the two teams split the opening weekend of the second round for a 1-1 series tie heading back to Bismarck.

In a mirror image of Friday’s 6-4 Bobcats win, it was Coulee Region that started fast as Jake Useldinger rocketed a 40-foot shot past goalie Ryan Faragher in transition just 2:18 into the game for an early 1-0 lead for the home side.

Mike McDonald extended the Chill advantage with 11:50 left in the opening frame, guiding a low shot through traffic that beat Faragher low-blocker to push the score to 2-0 Coulee Region.

It was a 3:07 span of hockey, however, that truly stung the Bobcats as the Chill wrapped goals from Berkley Scott, David Ripple and Connor Gaarder around the first intermission to claim a 5-0 lead just 2:04 into the second period.

Scott’s goal—which came with 1:03 left in the first—chased Faragher from the net, where he was replaced by steady playoff contributor Tommy Burke. Ripple and Gaarder’s goals were the first Burke had given up in relief since joining the Bobcats in November.

After the three-minute blitz administered by the second-seeded Chill, the Bobcats calmed down and started to take over the pace of play, outshooting the Chill 33-22 after Gaarder’s second-period tally.

Frankie DeAugustine ended the Bobcats’ scoring drought and broke up netminder Paul Moberg’s shutout bid with 36 seconds left in the middle frame, jamming a Bryce Schmitt rebound inside the short post to get the visitors on the board, albeit trailing 5-1 after two.

DeAugustine inched the Cats closer with 10:29 left in the game, diving to swat home a Blake Schammel rebound for a 5-2 score.

“I was happy with the way our guys never gave up,” noted Bobcats head coach Layne Sedevie. “Obviously you’re never happy with a playoff loss, especially one where you give up six goals, but our guys battled to the end and hopefully learned from their mistakes early.”

With a comeback suddenly in striking distance, Sedevie pulled Burke with 3:17 left in regulation to try and spark a rally. After a pair of near-misses on the part of the Cats during an extended offensive-zone possession, the Chill were able to clear the puck to center where Lucas Dillon collected it and flung an 85-foot shot into the empty net for a 6-2 score with 1:02 left.

The Bobcats kept battling, though, as Charlie Mosey struck with eight seconds left on the power play, crushing a one-time shot off a Matt Gates feed on the power play, but the score came too late for the Cats, who dropped the 6-3 decision.

Moberg secured his first Robertson Cup Playoff win on 44 saves.

Burke suffered his second playoff loss despite 22 saves in relief; Faragher did not factor into the decision, making 11 stops.

The Central Division Finals will resume Friday with Game Three at the VFW Sports Center, scheduled for a 7:15 PM start; Game Four will follow Saturday, also at 7:15 PM. If necessary, Game Five will be Monday, April 25th, back at the Omni Center.

Friday’s key contest will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270, KLXX-AM, and worldwide at http://nahl.fasthockey.com/. Pre-game coverage will begin at 6:45 PM CT.

Season tickets are now on sale for the 2011-12 season! Call the Bobcat Hockey office at (701) 222-3300 or email gobobcathockey@aol.com for more information on reserving your seats for next season!