No Luck of the Irish

BISMARCK, ND – On the heels of locking up their third division title in four years, the Bobcats suffered a 5-1 setback at the hands of the second-place Alexandria Blizzard at the VFW Sports Center Saturday night.

The loss marks the first time all season the Bobcats have dropped two straight at home and closes out the season series between the Bobcats and Blizzard on a sour note for the Cats, despite the fact that they handily won series 8-4-0.

A hard-luck turnover by the Bobcats put them behind the eight ball in the closing seconds of the first period as a rolling puck could not be contained by the regular season division champs and careened out to Seth Ronsberg, who fired a shot that deflected off two sticks and in past Bobcat goalie Tommy Burke at the horn to boost the Blizzard to a 1-0 lead after one.

Alexandria doubled their lead to 2-0 on the power play when defenseman Dylan Zink guided a low shot through traffic and in 9:24 into the second.

Exactly five minutes later, Castan Sommer cut the lead in half, blasting a rising one-timer past Blizzard emergency goalie Michael Bitzer to make it 2-1 Alexandria.

On the ensuing shift, however, the Blizzard restored a two-goal game when the Bobcats lost track of Ronsberg in transition and the 6’2” power forward had an easy put-back off a back door feed from Thomas Williams for a 3-1 Blizzard lead 63 seconds after Sommer’s goal.

“You give up a goal in the last second of a period and you let them score on the next shift after you get one back; those are critical mistakes,” lamented Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, whose team could not find any luck despite the game being held on St. Patrick’s Day. “Our work ethic was good, but Bitzer was really good. If we keep working hard the bounces will come back our way.”

The Bobcats could not break Alexandria’s shotblocking spell in the third, only managing eight shots on Bitzer despite dominating the time of possession and third period insurance goals from Gage Torrel and Matt Youso pushed the game to its final 5-1 count.

Bitzer, called on due to a reported sprained ankle to regular starter Jacob Meyers and a broken collarbone that has sidelined backup Jameson Shortreed indefinitely, made 30 saves to secure his first-ever win at the junior level.

Burke made 33 saves but could not avoid his eighth loss of the year.

The Bobcats dedicated Saturday’s game to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation—which leads the fight in the USA against childhood cancer—wearing special-edition green jerseys that were auctioned off after the game with the proceeds going to the Foundation.

During the game Sedevie, assistant coach Mike Peluso and team broadcaster Paul Teeple got their heads shaved as part of the team’s efforts for St. Baldrick’s, whose efforts started with pledge drives centered around people nationwide getting their heads shaved to help raise awareness. Following the game players Dan Kovar, John Furgele, Terry Hennen and Shane Omdahl all got their heads shaved for the charity effort, as well.

The Bobcats will close out the road portion of their regular-season schedule with a two-game series against the Austin Bruins, starting Friday at 7:05 PM at Riverside Arena.

Friday’s contest will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270, KLXX-AM, and worldwide on the official internet television partner of the NAHL, FASTHockey, at Pregame coverage gets under way at 6:30. Fans can watch Friday’s game—and all away contests—live at Reza’s Pitch at Third and Front in Bismarck, the official away game home of Bobcat Hockey.

Season tickets are still available for the second half of the 2011-12 season—and going fast! Call the Bobcat Hockey office at (701) 222-3300 or email for more information on reserving a pro-rated package for the rest of the season!