Bobcats Open December with Minot Home-and-Home
Matchup: Bismarck Bobcats (10-11-0, 5th Central) vs Minot Minotauros (14-7-3, 1st Central)
Games: Friday, December 4, 7:15pm; Saturday, December 5, 7:35pm
Venue: VFW Sports Center, Bismarck, N.D.; Maysa Arena, Minot, N.D.
Season Series: Minotauros Lead Bobcats 2-0-0
All-Time: Bobcats lead Minotauros 31-14-4
Radio: SuperTalk 1270 AM, SuperTalk1270.com and the radioPup smartphone app, 6:45pm Friday; 7:05pm Saturday
Internet TV: http://NAHL.FASTHockey.com, 6:45pm Friday; 7:05pm Saturday
BISMARCK, ND – Coming off a 4-4-0 month of November, the Bismarck Bobcats will open December with a two-game home-and-home series against their fiercest rivals, the Minot Minotauros, starting Friday at the VFW Sports Center.
In each of the two previous meetings between North Dakota’s NAHL entries this season, Minot has claimed narrow victories: getting a late empty-netter for a 4-2 win on October 3 and holding off a third-period push from the Cats to take a 2-1 decision on November 10.
“Both times we’ve seen Minot, we gave up early leads and tried to flip the switch in the third but it hasn’t worked,” assessed Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, whose squad is 0-8-0 when trailing after two periods, third-worst in the league behind Topeka (0-10-0) and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (0-11-0). “If we want to have success against them, we need to start fast and stay consistent.”
Since the Minotauros knocked off the Cats on November 10, the two sides have largely treaded water: the Bobcats are 3-4-0 in the interim; Minot is 4-3-1.
The weekend holds vital importance for both sides, as the Cats sit outside of playoff position but also have the second-fewest games played in the entire NAHL while Minot holds a tenuous two-point lead for first place over the hard-charging Austin Bruins.
For the Bobcats, it’s also a chance to get an irksome monkey off their collective back, as the black and gold have not won a home game with an impact on the standings against the Minotauros since March 15, 2014—over a full season ago. Their 6-1 win in the capital on March 27, 2015, came after all four playoff spots in the Central Division were already locked in.
“In this league, teams change so much from year to year, so usually how last year’s team did doesn’t mean much—but not here,” admitted Sedevie. “We need to get off the schneid at home—and not just against Minot. We’re 4-4 in front of our fans and we’ve given away too many points in our own barn.”
Usual suspects Christian Mohs and Johnny Walker—Minot’s top two returning scorers from 2014-15—have powered the Minotauros over the last five games, adding five assists and a goal plus two assists, respectively.
Minot’s Central-leading defense is anchored by goalies Lucas Murray and Jon Flakne, who have an aggregate 2.42 GAA and .907 SV%. Murray manned the net for both wins over the Cats.
For the Bobcats, no fewer than seven skaters have averaged a point per game over the team’s offensive renaissance in the past five contests: Willie Brown, Tobias Fladeby, Alex Strand, Jared Pike, Harrison Aide, Jared Resseguie and Travis Wood all have five points in that span.
Averaging 3.19 goals for and 2.76 against per game, the Cats have the division’s second-best offense and defense through November.
Tickets are now on sale for Friday’s home leg of the series: fans can buy and print tickets 24 hours a day at BismarckBobcats.com, by clicking “Shop Now” on the team Facebook page or charge-by-phone 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.