Bobcats Clamp Down, Drop Minotauros 5-2
MINOT, ND – Jared Pike scored twice and the Bismarck Bobcats got a strong night in net from Nick DeSimone to topple the Minot Minotauros 5-2 Wednesday at Maysa Arena.
The opening 14 minutes of the contest were evenly played, with Minot holding a thin 7-6 edge in shots, before Pike cashed in his first of the night on the power play, tapping in a Travis Wood rebound with 5:43 to go in the first for a 1-0 Bobcat lead.
Alex Strand added one to his team-leading goal total for the Cats to stretch it to 2-0 with 56 seconds left in the opening stanza, collecting a turnover created by Tobias Fladeby and wrapping it home before Minot goalie Lucas Murray could recover to his right.
Before the period could end, however, the Minotauros struck back when Johnny Walker fed Chase Springman for a point-blank one-timer that beat DeSimone inside the right post to pull Minot within 2-1 heading into the first intermission.
Tobias Fladeby, making his return to the Bobcats after the 2016 World Junior Championships, restored the visitors’ two-goal advantage at 3-1 just 42 seconds into the middle frame, twisting a low shot through traffic that popped six feet into the air off Murray’s initial save and bounced into the net.
Pike followed that up with his second of the night on a 4-on-4 with 4:02 gone in the second, stickhanding through the Minot defense before bombing a snap shot through a screen set by Oskars Batna that beat Murray stick side for a 4-1 score, chasing the Minotauros’ starting netminder from the cage.
Relief goalkeeper Jon Flakne steadied the Minot defense after being summoned to the net, stopping all three shots that made it his way in the second.
Minot closed back within two goals with 7:11 remaining in period two on a Jack Murphy wrister in traffic, cutting it to 4-2 Bobcats.
After the two sides combined for six goals allowed in the first two frames, DeSimone and Flakne for 21 saves and no goals against in the third; the only puck that found the back of the cage was an empty-netter by Willie Brown with 42 seconds left in the game for the final 5-2 margin.
DeSimone made 30 saves to pick up his first win with the Bobcats since arriving in an early-December trade from Johnstown. Murray took the loss on 13 saves; Flakne stopped 12 of 12 shots faced but did not factor into the decision.
Now the scene shifts to the VFW Sports Center for a 7:15pm New Year’s Eve rematch between the Bobcats and Minotauros.
For the game, the Bobcats will host their annual New Year’s Eve Party: with special New Year’s 2016 jerseys that will be auctioned following the game and Farmer’s Union Insured Win Night—where all fans in Section 13 will receive a free ticket for a future home game if the Bobcats are able to win.
Tickets are on sale now for Thursday’s New Year’s Eve Party: fans can buy and print tickets 24 hours a day at BismarckBobcats.com, by clicking “Shop Now” on the team Facebook page or charge-by-phone at 222-3300.
Thursday’s edition of the Battle of Highway 83 will be broadcast live 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—with pregame coverage starting at 6:45pm.
Season tickets are still on sale for the 2015-16 season at a pro-rated price; if you want to beat the rush of over 40,000 fans for this year, now is the time! Call 222-3300 to reserve your seats today.
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