Bobcats Rally to Finish 5-0-1 at Aberdeen
ABERDEEN, SD — Facing a two-goal deficit after two periods, the Bismarck Bobcats roared back to force overtime and a shootout, eventually falling 3-2 to the Aberdeen Wings Saturday in their final visit to Odde Ice Center.
By reaching extra time, the Cats finished the season unblemished in regulation in Aberdeen with a 5-0-1 road record against the Wings.
Trailing 2-0 heading into the third, Oskars Batna got the visitors on the board with 15:10 remaining in regulation, tapping in a back-door pass in transition from Matt Perry while being dragged down from behind to halve the Aberdeen lead at 2-1.
Batna played a critical role in the equalizer nearly 10 minutes later, drawing a high sticking penalty and then setting a screen that did not allow Aberdeen goalie Andrew Shortridge to see a dipping Tanner Salsberry slap shot that snuck inside the right post on the ensuing power play to tie the game at two with 5:02 to play.
Neither side scored in the remainder of the third or in overtime, necessitating a shootout.
After Kyle Haak spotted the Wings an early lead, the Cats came roaring back with consecutive strikes from Evan Giesler and Logan Rivard to seize the shooutout lead through three rounds. Aberdeen, however, went runner-runner with their final two shooters, Tanner Okeson and Victor Ostling, to hand the Bobcats their first loss in the shootout of the season at 3-2.
Though the score was close through 40 minutes, Aberdeen dominated the first two periods: getting transition goals late in the first from Jackson Graalum and Bjorn Sigurdarsson and outshooting the visitors by a total of 25-13 in the first and second. Only a series of highlight-reel saves by Bobcat netminder Alex Bitsakis kept the Cats within striking distance heading into the third.
In all, Bitsakis made 34 stops but could not avoid his second overtime loss of the season–both to the Wings. Shortridge finished with 28 saves to provide Aberdeen with their third win in four games.
The Bobcats now return to the VFW Sports Center to open a seven-game home stand, starting with a Friday-and-Saturday double dip with the Midwest Division-leading Minnesota Wilderness.
Tickets are now on sale for Friday’s series opener: fans can buy and print tickets online 24 hours a day at BismarckBobcats.com or charge by phone at 222-3300.
Live coverage of Friday’s interdivision throwdown will begin at 6:45pm 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.
Though the 2014-15 season is entering its home stretch, pro-rated season tickets are still available for the last run of home games; fans who want to lock in their seats for the remainder of the campaign should call the Bobcat office at 222-3300 today!