Bobcats Miss Chance to Sweep as Special Teams Falter
SOLDOTNA, AK – Tied at two at the half-way mark of the third period, the Bismarck Bobcats’ special teams gave up consecutive goals on the way to dropping Saturday’s contest 5-2 to the Kenai River Brown Bears at the Soldotna Sports Center.
In the late stages of a third-period power play, the Cats fell behind 3-2 as Brown Bears forward Nick Klishko finished off a 3-on-2 rush past Bobcat goalie Hunter Shepard with 9:48 remaining in regulation.
It was the first shorthanded goal the Bobcats have surrendered all season.
The Cats’ problems were compounded 3:42 later, with defenseman Nick Wallace serving a tripping minor, as Kenai River’s Maurin Bouvet tapped in a Klishko rebound to push the home side ahead 4-2.
When the Bobcats pulled Shepard late, Jack Gessert finished them off: hammering his second of the night into an empty net with 35 seconds left to give the game its final score of 5-2.
Gessert’s empty-netter capped off a very un-Bobcats-like road trip, which saw the black and gold outscored 8-0 in the third period over the course of four games in Alaska. In their previous five contests, the Cats had outscored their opposition 8-3 in the final frame.
Kenai River got the scoring started Saturday, as well, as Joey Sardina stuffed home a wrap-around with 5:40 to go in the first to lift the Bears to a 1-0 lead.
It looked as if Kenai would hold that edge heading into the first intermission, but third-year veteran Evan Giesler redirected a point shot from Cody Longie off the left post and in with just nine seconds left in the opening stanza to tie the game at one.
Rookie Harrison Aide gave the visitors their only lead of the night at 2-1 with 7:35 elapsed in the second, racing into the Kenai River zone in transition and beating Brown Bears netminder Josh Creelman high to the stick side.
Gessert dialed up an equalizer with 100 seconds left in the middle frame, popping home his own rebound after Ben Campbell sprung him for a short breakaway from the Bobcat blue line.
Shepard ended up with 33 saves but fell to 1-4-0 on the season. Creelman bounced back from allowing four goals on Friday to secure his third win of the year on 23 stops.
After playing eight of their first 10 games against non-division teams, the Bobcats now settle into 14 straight contests inside the Central, starting with a 7:15pm Friday homecoming against the Austin Bruins at the VFW Sports Center.
Tickets are now on sale at the Bobcat Box Office Monday through Friday, 9:00am until 5:00pm; fans can also buy and print their tickets online at any time at www.BismarckBobcats.com.
Live coverage of Friday’s rivalry tilt will begin at 6:45pm 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.
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!