Bobcats Shake off Slow Start, Rocket past Blizzard
BROOKINGS, SD – Finding themselves down less than two minutes into the game, the Bismarck Bobcats staged a mighty rally in Saturday’s second and third periods: pouring in five unanswered goals to claim a 5-1 win over the Brookings Blizzard at the Larson Ice Center.
Idle Friday while the Cats played a physical contest in Aberdeen, Brookings made an early statement Saturday when Garrett Elmore grabbed a centering pass from Griff Jeszka and slammed a one-timer through the legs of Bobcat netminder Hunter Shepard on the first shot of the night to make it 1-0 Blizzard just 1:27 into the first—a lead that would extend through the rest of the frame.
After failing to convert a handful of good scoring chances in the opening 20 minutes, the Bobcats got on the board and tied the game at one 1:49 into the middle stanza in transition as Aaron Herdt redirected a Willie Brown pass from the wing inside the right post for his ninth goal of the year.
Less than a minute after a power play came up empty, the Cats moved ahead 2-1 on a give-and-go play that saw Gianni Brandi bury a touch pass from Jared Resseguie at the 12:32 mark of the second.
Brookings nearly drew even in the eighth minute of the third on a scramble in front of the Bobcat net, but Shepard dove straight ahead and robbed Martan Yelle with a glove stab to maintain the one-goal edge.
Brown then tacked on some major insurance with 9:46 to go in regulation, deflecting a cross-ice pass from Jordan Fralich inside the right post before Blizzard goalie Austin Smith could recover to his left and pushing the score to 3-1 Bobcats.
Just 2:32 later, first-year winger Nick Alexander put the contest further out of reach at 5-1: halting a personal six-game goalless streak with a low shot on the rush that snuck in past Smith.
When the Blizzard pulled Smith in a last-ditch attempt to rally, Brown put a cap on the visitors’ five-goal outburst, firing the puck into the empty net while falling down for his second goal—and third point—of the night and the game’s final 5-1 margin.
Shepard bounced back from Elmore’s goal by stopping the next 23 shots he faced for his division-leading 14th win of the season—matching his win total for all of 2014-15. Smith, formerly of the Austin Bruins, took the loss on 28 saves in his first appearance with the Blizzard.
The Bobcats will wrap up their four-game road swing Friday with a 7:35pm showdown at Maysa Arena against the archrival Minot Minotauros. One night later, the team will host its annual Christmas Party Game, including their third-annual Teddy Bear Toss, when Brookings visits the VFW Sports Center for a Saturday rematch.
Tickets are now on sale for Saturday’s Christmas Party Game: fans can buy and print tickets online 24 hours a day at BismarckBobcats.com or charge-by-phone Monday through Friday between 9:00am and 5:00pm at 222-3300.
Friday’s installment of the Battle of Highway 83 will be broadcast live 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—with pregame coverage starting at 6:45pm.
Season tickets are still on sale for the 2015-16 season at a pro-rated price; if you want to beat the rush of over 40,000 fans for this year, now is the time! Call 222-3300 to reserve your seats today.
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