Shepard Earns Shutout as Bobcats Stifle Minot
BISMARCK, ND – Hunter Shepard needed just 15 saves to pick up his league-leading fourth shutout of the year as the Bismarck Bobcats locked down the Minot Minotauros for a 3-0 victory Thursday at the VFW Sports Center.
Following a scoreless first period, the Bobcats used a little luck to seize a 1-0 lead eight minutes into the second on a 4-on-4 when defenseman Nick Wallace threw a low shot toward the net that deflected off a Minot defender and in over the glove of goalie Jon Flakne.
Aaron Herdt doubled the advantage to 2-0 at the very end of the middle frame, threading a rising shot through traffic on the power play that beat Flakne stick side with 1.1 second left on the clock.
“I’m not sure Aaron knew how much time was left, there,” joked Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, whose squad went 6-1-1 through a successful month of December, “but to be able to score in that situation is a back-breaker. They always say you never want to give up a goal in the first minute or last minute of a period.”
It wasn’t quite the first minute of the third, but the Bobcats were able to push the score to 3-0 a mere 1:44 into the final stanza as Willie Brown collected a drop pass in transition from Alex Strand and buried a top-shelf blast over Flakne’s blocker for his second goal of the weekend and 12th of the year.
From there, the Bobcat defense went into shut-down mode, allowing just two shots in the final 20 minutes to help Shepard to his fifth career shutout.
Flakne played well, making 26 saves, but could not avoid his fifth loss of 2015-16.
With the win, the Bobcats (16-12-1, 33 pts) pull within two points of the Central Division-leading Minotauros (16-13-3, 35 pts) and Austin Bruins (17-13-1, 35 pts) heading into 2016.
Now the Cats turn their attention to a 7:30pm Saturday date with the Brookings Blizzard at the Larson Ice Center to wrap up a busy week.
Saturday’s divisional showdown 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 7:00pm.
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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