Offense Stalls as Bobcats’ Streak Ends
AUSTIN, MN – The Bismarck Bobcats’ couldn’t get their offense going until late, only managing one goal as their three-game winning streak came to a halt Friday in a 4-1 loss to the Austin Bruins at Riverside Arena.
Following a scoreless first period, Austin struck just 40 seconds into the second when a blown assignment by the Bobcats freed Logan Haskins to lift a close-range shot over the glove of Bobcat goalie Will Ulrich to give the home side a 1-0 edge.
Though the Cats managed to kill off back-to-back 5-on-3 power plays for the Bruins, they could not escape the middle frame—a period in which they’ve been outscored 8-2 since the NAHL Showcase—before veteran forward Evan Cholak capitalized on a broken play to beat Ulrich in traffic to double Austin’s lead to 2-0 with just 30 seconds left before intermission.
Despite a parade to the penalty box throughout the third, the Bobcats got back into the game with a shorthanded strike with 5:55 to go when former Bruin Zach Kennedy intercepted an attempted clear by Austin netminder Jake Kucharski and zipped the puck home before Kucharski could recover to the net to cut the score to 2-1.
Nick Alexander’s late major penalty hampered the Cats’ comeback chances, which ended entirely on two empty net goals in an eight-second window from Austin’s A.J. Drobot and Michael Piehler for the game’s final 4-1 margin.
Ulrich stopped 26 of 28 shots but didn’t get enough help from the Bobcat offense to avoid his first career loss to the Bruins. Kucharski held strong in the Bruin net, making 25 saves for the win.
A rematch looms at 7:05pm Saturday as the Bobcats endeavor to earn a split at Riverside.
Saturday’s series finale 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 6:35pm.
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.