BISAMRCK, ND – The Bismarck Bobcats poured in five straight goals to rally past the Alexandria Blizzard for a 6-3 win Saturday at the VFW Sports Center, meriting the Bobcats a two-game split in their home-and-home series with the Blizzard.
Despite carrying the pace of play early, a first-period turnover by the Bobcats put the home side in a 1-0 hole after one as Seth Ronsberg stole an errant outlet pass and fed Hayden Trupp, who worked the puck to a wide-open Reid Sturos for a quick one-timer that caught the Bobcat defense out of position with 2:46 left in the opening frame.
The Bobcats were able to pull even at one 7:27 into the second period on the power play as Donald Olivieri drew the attention of the Alexandria defense before whipping a back-door pass to Castan Sommer, who blazed a wrist shot past Blizzard goalie Jacob Meyers .
“We were working hard in the first period but things just weren’t going our way,” explained Sommer, the Bobcats’ leading scorer with 27 goals and 24 assists. “We knew we had to come out and work hard and things would start going our way in the second.”
Bryce Schmitt pushed the Bobcats ahead at 2-1, charging up ice on a 1-on-2 rush and using the Alexandria defense as a screen to blast a low shot past Meyers with 2:05 left in the middle frame.
Sommer continued the rally 59 seconds into the third, grabbing a centering feed from Frank DeAugustine and snapping a shot past Meyers for a 3-1 Bobcat lead.
When Blizzard blueliner Matt Youso took a five minute major and a game misconduct for facemasking Nick Miglio, DeAugustine and Donald Olivieri poured in power play goals on the unreleasable major to push the lead to 5-1 for the Cats.
Alexandria got late goals from Nick D’Avolio and Craig Lindegard sandwiched around a Bobcats strike by Grant Mindt, but could draw no closer than 6-3 as the Bobcats (38-9-1, 77 pts) pushed their divisional lead to 14 points over the Blizzard (30-14-3, 63 pts).
“Things didn’t go our way on Friday [in a 5-1 loss at Alexandria],” noted Mindt, who has recently split time between forward and defense—serving as a forward Saturday, “but we played them hard and we kept digging tonight and tried to grind them down. Eventually our hard work started paying off.”
Special teams carried a lot of weight for the Bobcats, who scored three power play goals on three chances while denying both man advantages the Blizzard earned.
Tommy Burke made 26 saves on the way to his 26th win of the year.
“Give Tommy a lot of credit,” added Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, “he made some big saves for us tonight. There was one stretch in the second period where he had some difficult saves and he made them all to keep us in the game before the offense woke up.”
Meyers took the loss, making 34 saves on 38 shots before being lifted for backup Jameson Shortreed. Shortreed made five saves on seven shots.
The Bobcats, who send DeAugustine, Schmitt, Olivieri, Burke, Dan Zawacki, Buster Hebda and Danny Ray to next week’s Top Prospects Tournament in Troy, Mich., will return to division action Friday when they travel to Maysa Arena for a 7:35 PM road contest against the Minot Minotauros.
Friday’s intrastate matchup 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 7:05 PM. Fans can watch the game—and all away contests—live at Reza’s Pitch at Third and Front in Bismarck, the official away game home of Bobcat Hockey.
Season tickets are still available for the second half of the 2011-12 season—and going fast! Call the Bobcat Hockey office at (701) 222-3300 or email email@example.com for more information on reserving a pro-rated package for the rest of the season!