Must Won

Sharp Special Teams Lift Bobcats to Critical Win
BISMARCK, ND – Backed into a virtual must-win situation, the Bismarck Bobcats got two shorthanded goals and a late game-winner on the power play en route to a pivotal 4-2 win over the Brookings Blizzard Saturday at the VFW Sports Center.
Whistled for a slashing penalty in the first five minutes of the game, the Bobcats turned the negative into a positive at the 13:44 mark when blueliner Noah Bormann intercepted a Brookings entry at his own blue line and sped into the Blizzard zone before snapping a low liner that beat netminder Josh Boyko stick side to push the home side ahead 1-0.
Then, 2:26 later, the Cats doubled their lead to 2-0 on a 2-on-1 rush when Nick Alexander tapped a centering pass from Matt Barry on goal; though Boyko made the initial stop, his momentum carried him and the puck over the goal line before a whistle could sound for third goal in his last four appearances.
In the second, the teams traded opportunities through the first 10-plus minutes before a defensive zone turnover by the Bobcats allowed Nick Cardelli to tap a partially blocked rebound over the blocker of Bobcat goalie Camden Haugenoe to cut the score to 2-1 with 5:15 left in the middle frame.
Following Cardelli’s tally, the Blizzard made a big push to close the period but the Bobcat penalty kill wiped out a late 5-on-3 power play for the visitors to hold the one-goal edge after two.
Brookings, nevertheless, fought all the way back to tie the game 2-2 with 15:06 to go in regulation when a long rebound kicked straight to deadline acquisition John Siebenaler for a close-range put-back before Haugenoe could recover to the right post.
Despite conceding the equalizer, the Bobcats continued to apply pressure on Boyko and the Blizzard, eventually earning a 5-on-3 power play of the own. With the two-man advantage, careful passes from Zach Kennedy and Jordan Fralich opened a seam for Tobias Fladeby to scorch a one-time slap shot from the top of the right-wing circle in over Boyko’s blocker with 8:07 on the clock for a 3-2 Bobcat lead.
Before the game could end, the Cats would face two more penalty kills—including 6-on-4 time with Boyko pulled on a late cross-checking minor—but held firm both times, culminating in a Matt Berry length-of-the-ice clear that skidded into the empty net with 27 seconds left for a shorthanded marker and the game’s 4-2 final count.
Haugenoe halted a personal two-start skid, picking up his sixth win on 29 stops. Boyko turned in 26 saves but slipped to 17-12-4.
Now the Bobcats turn their attention to a two-game road series at Odde Ice Center against the Aberdeen Wings—now the hottest team in the NAHL thanks to a seven-game win streak—starting Friday at 7:15pm.
Friday’s rivalry throwdown will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270 AM, and worldwide on–the web television partner of the North American Hockey League–with pregame coverage starting at 6:50pm.
Pro-rated season tickets are now on sale for the Bobcats’ landmark platinum anniversary campaign starting at less than $100 per seat: fans can get more information or reserve their seats for the rest of Season Twenty now by calling 222-3300.