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Nov 6, 2014

Bobcats Smother Blizzard 3-0
BISMARCK, ND – Goalie Alex Bitsakis turned in 23 saves and the Bismarck Bobcat defense stifled some of the Central Division’s top weapons as the Cats blanked the Brookings Blizzard 3-0 Friday at the VFW Sports Center.
After the Bobcats dropped seven goals on the Blizzard in their last meeting, Brookings came out firing Friday: efforting five shots in on Bitsakis in the first seven minutes including a flurry on the opening shift of the game but could not break through.
When blueliner Cole Souto was sent off on a hooking minor, the Bobcat penalty kill swung the game on a 2-on-2 rush as Cullen Willox pushed the puck up the left wing for Oskars Batna, who whipped a low shot through the legs of Brookings netminder Justin Ketola to install the home side to a 1-0 lead with 8:45 to go in the first.
The other side of the Cats’ special teams equation extended the margin to 2-0 with 3:38 when Willox gave a no-look back-door pass to Matt Perry that the Air Force commit one-timed into a wide-open net for his sixth goal of the year.
That helper gave Willox six assists in the last two games—two even strength, two on the power play and two shorthanded.
Bitsakis stood tall on the Cats’ penalty kill late in the second, denying point-blank chances from Viktor Lindell and Connor Hutchins in the final minute of the frame to keep the lead at two after two.
In the third, Souto added a measure of insurance, dipping a shot through traffic that fooled Ketola five-hole to make it 3-0 at the 6:30 mark of the final stanza.
A late power play for the Blizzard yielded just one shot, which Bitsakis fielded in traffic, as the Bobcat defense held on for their second shutout of the season.
It was also Bitsakis’ second shutout of 2014-15. Ketola slipped to 1-3-0 despite 34 stops.
With the Bobcats’ half of the home-and-home series now complete, the scene shifts to the Larson Ice Center in Brookings for a 7:15pm rematch Saturday.
Live coverage of Saturday’s weekend finale will begin at 6:45pm locally on SuperTalk 1270, KLXX-AM, the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, and worldwide online at, 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!