Over the Hills and Far Away

Oct 1, 2014

Bobcats Far from Home to Face Defending Champs

FAIRBANKS, AK – The Bismarck Bobcats have traveled by land and air—traversing over 2,600 miles this week—in preparation for a pair of road duels with the defending Robertson Cup Champion Fairbanks Ice Dogs, starting Friday at the Big Dipper Arena.

It is the Cats’ first trip to central Alaska to face their old AWHL foes since the teams split a two-game set at the Big Dipper in November 2007.

For current Bobcat players—many of whom were middle schoolers the last time the black and gold paid a visit to Fairbanks—it is a special opportunity both on and off the ice.

“It’s definitely a once-in-a-lifetime trip for a lot of us—I haven’t even ever seen a mountain,” admitted second-year forward Cullen Willox, the Cats’ top scorer so far this season (4g, 4a), “and next week we’ll get a chance to enjoy Alaska for a few days, but right now the focus is 100 percent on our games against the Ice Dogs.”

As Friday will be their home opener, Fairbanks will be raising banners for their massive haul of trophies from last season, with titles that span: the 2013 Showcase; the 2013-14 Midwest Division; the 2013-14 President’s Cup; the 2014 Midwest Division Playoffs; and the 2014 Robertson Cup.

Such a festive atmosphere will hardly have the visitors in a party mood, however.

“With how close we were to making the Robertson Cup Tournament last season, it will hurt a little bit to see [the championship banner] go up,” added Willox, “but we’re just going to use that as motivation to get ready for the game.”

The defending champs enter Friday off a tough start: since earning a two-game road split against the Kenai River Brown Bears in the year’s first weekend, Fairbanks has submitted a 1-5-0 mark over the last six games to find themselves at the bottom of the Midwest Division standings.

That skid isn’t fooling the Bobcats, though.

“We know that 2-6-0 doesn’t tell the story about the Ice Dogs,” imparted Bobcats assistant coach Jim Peluso, now in his third season on the Cats’ bench. “With top-end skill guys like Jacob Hetz, Chandler Madry and Ethan Somoza all back from last year’s team, they are a strong team. If anything, their record makes them even more dangerous coming into their home opener.”

Hetz, Madry and Somoza combined for 28 points (8g, 20a) in the month of September.

Live coverage of Friday’s cross-continent tilt will begin at 10:30pm 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!