Third Period Slip-Up Costs Bobcats in Season Finale
BISMARCK, ND – The twentieth season of Bismarck Bobcats hockey in the capital region ended on a sour note Saturday as the Cats conceded four unanswered goals to fall 4-1 to the Austin Bruins at the VFW Sports Center.
Locked in a scoreless tie over halfway through the game, it was the Bobcats who struck first on the season’s final night, getting a transition goal from outgoing 1996 birthyear Zach Kennedy on a sharp-angle redirect of a lively pass from Cooper Haar for a 1-0 lead with 3:05 left in the second period.
Austin wasted no time evening the score in the third, striking 97 seconds into the final frame on a hard slapshot through traffic by Jon Richards to spoil the shutout bid of Bobcat goalie Camden Haugenoe and knot the game at one.
Winger Jack Murphy then pushed the Bruins in front at 2-1 with 7:28 to go, stepping through the Bobcat defense for a short breakaway and just beating Haugenoe inside the left post with a backhander.
Richards applied the back-breaker for the visitors, cashing in a shorthanded 2-on-1 with Justin Misiak at the 5:43 mark to push Austin’s edge to 3-1.
When the Bobcats pulled Haugenoe for the extra attacker, Murphy got his third of the weekend on a rolling backhander to give the game its final 4-1 margin.
Haugenoe dazzled in his final start of 2016-17, making numerous highlight reel saves but could not avoid the loss. Affiliate netminder Ethan Peterson stepped in for Austin, stopping 20 shots for his first career victory.
With the loss, the Bobcats finish at 28-30-2—their first sub-.500 finish since 2007-08.
Saturday’s contest marks the end of the junior careers of the Bobcats’ 1996 birthyears: Kennedy, Tobias Fladeby, Jordan Fralich and Jiei Halliday—along with Will Ulrich and Kyle Siemers who both finished the year on the injured reserve.
In all, the Bobcats have 21 players from their final roster who will be eligible to return for 2017-18.
Bobcat Hockey would like to thank all of its sponsors, partners, game-night volunteers, billets, staff, coaches and especially players for helping make the Bobcats a part of the fabric of Bismarck/Mandan for 20 years!
Season tickets for the 2017-18 campaign are now available for pre-order: fans can get more information or reserve their seats for all of next year now by calling 222-3300 or by texting TICKETS to 701-390-7422.