Bobcats Falter in Shootout, Claim Three of Four Points
BISMARCK, ND – The Bismarck Bobcats never trailed against the Brookings Blizzard Saturday at the VFW Sports Center but could not close out their southern foes, falling 4-3 in the shootout to finish with three of the four possible standings points on the two-game weekend.
“We gave away a point tonight to a team that we’ve been tight with in the standings,” lamented Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, “and you just can’t do that. We made some poor decisions with the puck and two turnovers turned into two goals [for Brookings].”
For the second straight night, it was the Bobcats who struck first when Stanislav Dzakhov blasted a one-timer from Shane Omdahl past Blizzard netminder Drew Weigman just 2:30 to post the Cats to a 1-0 edge.
It was the first goal surrendered by Weigman to the Bobcats since November 9, a stretch that spanned seven-plus consecutive periods.
Brookings answered right back with 11:50 left in the first on a miscue by Bobcat goalie Aaron Nelson, who ranged 40 feet from his net for an attempted clear on the power play that wound up on the stick of Blizzard defenseman Drew Brevig. Brevig launched the puck into a wide-open net to even the score at one.
Brevig’s tally was the eighth shorthanded goal surrendered by the Bobcat power play in 2012-13.
Following a heavily disputed icing call by the officiating crew, the Bobcats pushed back ahead at 2-1 on the rush when Matt Anders fought his way through a crowd of Brookings defenders and muscled the puck on net and powered it under Weigman. It appeared that Bob Kinne put the finishing touches on the loose puck but Anders was credited with the goal with 3:50 left in the opening frame.
A neutral-zone giveaway by the Bobcats turned into a 2-2 tie with 1:18 remaining in the first as Eric Brenk stole a long clear-out pass and rushed to the near post of Nelson’s net before dropping a pass to Conor Andrle, who buried a one-timer for the equalizer.
In a chippy second period, Bobcat captain Adam Knochenmus delivered his third goal in four games when he blasted home a one-timer on the rush from Bobcat newcomer Travis Underwood to propel the home side to a 3-2 advantage.
With 1:30 left in the middle frame, the game turned on a controversial goal for the Blizzard: Brookings leading scorer Thomas Williams fired a bad-angle shot that Nelson saved before Williams came sliding into the Bobcat goaltender and taking him off his feet while knocking the net off; while Williams spilled Nelson, veteran forward Casey Purpur—playing in his first game in two months—popped the puck into the dislodged net.
Despite a heated argument from the Bobcat bench, the goal stood and the game was knotted at 3-3 heading into the third.
The Bobcats dominated the final frame, outshooting Brookings 11-3, but could not solve Weigman. Underwood nearly gave the Cats the lead with 55 seconds, putting a knuckling shot on net that bounced off Weigman toward the goal line until the Blizzard keeper was able to fall backward for the whistle.
Overtime ensued—another period dominated by the Bobcats, who doubled Brookings’ shot total at 4-2—but the Cats once again could not beat Weigman, sending the game to the decisive shootout.
Brenk and Andrle were able to score on Nelson while Weigman stymied all four Bobcat shooters, delivering the Blizzard a 4-3 shootout win.
Nelson made 20 saves but saw his record slip to 15-5-3 on the year. Though he had his shutout streak against the Bobcats snapped, Weigman turned in a sterling 36-save effort for his 13th win of the year.
With their three-game homestand now in the rear-view mirror, the Bobcats will start a four-game road swing with a return visit to Brookings Wednesday for a 7:00 PM contest.
Wednesday’s de-facto rubber match 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 6:30 PM.
Pro-rated season tickets for the 2012-13 season are now on sale—and going fast! Call the Bobcat Hockey office today at (701) 222-3300 to reserve your seats for another great season of Championship Entertainment.