Power Outage

BLAINE, MN – The Bismarck Bobcats finished the 2011 Combat Hockey NAHL Showcase with a 2-2-0 record after suffering a 4-2 defeat at the hands of the Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings Saturday at the Schwan Super Rink.

The two-win week comes up one short of the best Bobcat result at the NAHL Showcase, which came in 2006 when the Cats went 3-1.

It was an unlucky bounce that put the Bobcats behind the eight ball early, as the Bobcat defense blocked a 40-foot shot by Kalamazoo defenseman Anthony Appleyard, but the deflected attempt bounced right to a wide-open Andrew Graves, who popped home the game’s first goal with 10:50 left in the first period.

Just 62 seconds later, Nick Kovalchik collected a Robbie Payne rebound and stuffed it past rookie Bobcat netminder Aaron Nelson for a 2-0 Kalamazoo lead.

Frank DeAugustine pulled the Cats back into the game 6:31 into the second, taking a long entry pass from Dan Zawacki and burning a low shot in transition past Jr. K-Wings goalie Zach Nagelvoort for a 2-1 count.

The Jr. K-Wings, however, responded with 6:54 left in the middle frame as Payne finished a 3-on-2 rush with Trevor Boyd and Christian George to push the lead back to two goals at 3-1.

Red-hot Bobcat blueliner Donald Olivieri got it back to a one-goal contest again in the third, blasting in his fifth goal of the week on 45-foot slap shot through traffic, bringing the score to 3-2 with 14:59 left in regulation.

Unfortunately for the Bobcats, Olivieri’s strike would be as close as they would come; the Kalamazoo defense tightened and the Cats only managed two more shots the rest of the way, both equaled by Nagelvoort.

Chad McDonald putting the finishing touches on the win for the Jr. K-Wings, stealing an errant neutral zone pass by the Bobcats and clearing the puck into an empty net with 57 seconds left for the final 4-2 margin.

Nelson made 23 saves in his first start as a Bobcat, but the former Century High all-state selection could not pick up his first win. Nagelvoort stopped 35 shots to collect his first win of 2011-12.

The Bobcats will look to bounce back Friday on Coors Light Opening Night as they welcome the Aberdeen Wings at 7:15 PM to the VFW Sports Center, marking the start of the 2011-12 Central Division schedule for the Cats. Fans are invited to arrive early on Friday, as Mia Amini and HOT 97.5 will be on-hand with live music in the parking lot with free sausage provided by Cloverdale Meats starting at 6:15 PM.

Friday’s home lid-lifter will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270, KLXX-AM, and worldwide on the official internet television partner of the NAHL, FASTHockey, at http://nahl.fasthockey.com. Pregame coverage gets under way at 6:45.

Season tickets are now on sale for the 2011-12 season—and going fast! Call the Bobcat Hockey office at (701) 222-3300 or email gobobcathockey@aol.com for more information on reserving your seats for the upcoming season!