Bobcats Rally, Fall Short at Aberdeen
ABERDEEN, SD – Down two more than halfway through the game Friday, the Bismarck Bobcats put together a worthy comeback attempt but could never find an equalizer—falling 2-1 to the Aberdeen Wings at the Odde Ice Center.
Both teams battled to a scoreless standstill through most of the opening frame until Aberdeen broke through, getting a go-ahead strike from Kevin Fitzgerald when the second-year center collected his own blocked shot and threw a low liner inside the right post with 1:09 to go in the first.
That lead grew to 2-0 at the 7:31 mark of the second when a Bobcat miscommunication on the power play allowed veteran forward Carter Roo to break through two defenders and send a snap shot from eight feet out under the blocker of goalie Severi Isokangas and in.
Rookie winger Cooper Haar got the Cats right back in the game 3:19 later, escaping a scrum on the right-wing boards and stickhandling into the slot before launching an across-the-body backhander that beat Wings netminder Forbes Ploszaj high to the stick side to cut the score to 2-1.
The Bobcats nearly tied the score in the first minute of the third on the power play when Michael Mahan found Tristan Ashbrook in the slot on the rush, but Ploszaj dove to his right to get just enough of Ashbrook’s one-timer to maintain the home side’s lead.
“Mike made a great pass and I got the shot I wanted,” explained Ashbrook, who has five goals and eight assists in his last 13 appearances, “but [Ploszaj] did a good job getting over and getting a piece of it.”
Though the Bobcats piled up chances they could not solve Ploszaj, who got major help from the Aberdeen forecheck late as the Wings spent the majority of the game’s final three minutes in the Bobcat end to help run off the remainder of the time and finish off the 2-1 win.
In addition to giving up the eventual game-winner, the Bobcat power play struggled to an 0-for-6 night—a stat the coaching staff pinpointed as a major contributor to Friday’s result.
“[Friday] is one of those nights where you can look and say the power play cost us the game,” admitted Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie. “0-for-6 in a one-goal game and only [Ashbrook’s] chance in the third isn’t going to cut it with as close as the division standings are right now.”
Isokangas made 27 saves but slipped to 4-2-0 in two-plus weeks of starts for the Bobcats. Ploszaj improved to 3-0-0 against the Bobcats on 27 stops of his own.
The scene will shift to the VFW Sports Center on Saturday for a 7:15pm rematch between the two long-time rivals.
Tickets are now on sale for Saturday’s home leg of the weekend: fans can buy and print tickets online 24 hours a day at BismarckBobcats.com or charge by phone at 222-3300.
Saturday’s grudge match will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270 AM, and worldwide on HockeyTV.com–the web television partner of the North American Hockey League–with pregame coverage starting at 6:45pm.
Pro-rated season tickets are now on sale for the Bobcats’ landmark platinum anniversary campaign fans can get more information or reserve their seats for all of Season Twenty now by calling 222-3300.