BISMARCK, ND – The Bismarck Bobcats came from behind to notch their first overtime win of the season, riding two straight goals from forward Dominic Panetta to topple the North Iowa Outlaws 4-3 Friday at the VFW Sports Center.
Trailing 3-2 late in the third period, Panetta recorded his 13th score of the season, taking an uncontested centering feed from linemate Ryan Jacobson and scorching home a low liner to tie the game at three with 2:15 left in regulation.
The two sides finished regulation deadlocked and traded chances through the opening minutes of overtime before Panetta broke the tie, wiring a falling snap shot over North Iowa goalie Keegan Asmundson with 1:51 left in the extra frame—bringing the VFW Sports Center crowd of 1,020 to its feet.
“We are so happy to pick up that [win],” said Panetta after the game. “It kind of seemed like the refs were against us [Friday] and we rallied around that. When we tied it up in the third we knew we were going to win.
“Getting it in OT may even be a little bit better to get that [0-for-6 in previous overtime games] monkey off our backs.”
The Bobcats players thoughts on the referees stemmed from the large disparity in penalties called on the home team, who were whistled for 45 minutes of penalties to just 24 for the Outlaws; Bismarck was also forced to kill off 14 power plays for the Outlaws—succeeding 12 times.
An early outburst by North Iowa put the ‘Cats in and early 2-0 hole as the Outlaws capitalized on early Bobcat miscues, getting scores from Markus Gander and Connor Gaarder to seize control 12 minutes into the first period.
Bobcat center Casey Kleisinger got the Bobcats on the board 1:16 after Gaarder’s goal, rocketing a power play snap shot through traffic and past Asmundson to make it a 2-1 game after one.
Jacobson racked up his team-leading 19th goal of the year just 1:34 into the second, tapping home a back-door feed in transition from Gavin Hartzog to even the score at one.
“Going to the net continues to be a big focus for us, and it paid off again with that goal,” said Jacobson. “About 80% of all goals are scored in the slot area, so I drove hard and Gavin made an incredible pass to make it happen.”
North Iowa reclaimed a one goal lead with 6:06 left in the second on Gaarder’s second of the night, a broken-play snap shot past Bobcat goalie Ryan Faragher on the power play to make it 3-2.
The teams traded chances but no goals through the end of the second and most of the third before Panetta sparked the late rally.
The Bobcats finished 2-for-9 on the power play but, despite the 23 combined manpower advantages on the night, both of Panetta’s goals came with the teams at even strength.
Faragher bounced back from a tough start to make 32 saves and record his 14th win—the second most of any goalie in the league, behind only Fairbanks Ice Dog Mike Taffe (15).
Asmundson dropped to 2-3-1 since his return to the Outlaw roster in November, making 19 saves in defeat.
The Bobcats and Outlaws wrap up their two-game series Saturday at the VFW Sports Center with a 7:15 PM contest.
The game will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270, KLXX-AM, and worldwide at BismarckBobcats.com via B2 Networks. The pre-game show starts each night at 6:45 PM.
You won\’t want to miss any of the games this season, so order your Season Tickets, Family Packs and Group Nights today by calling the Bobcat Hockey Office at 701-222-3300 or by e-mailing the office for more information at email@example.com.