Shepard, Strand Lift Bobcats in Overtime
RICHFIELD, MN – Once again, the Bismarck Bobcats endured a two goal rally from the Minnesota Magicians and got their second straight game-winning goal from Alex Strand—this time in overtime—to win 3-2 and complete the weekend sweep at Richfield Ice Arena.
Leading 2-0 after one, the Bobcats saw their advantage slip to one at 2-1 with 10:18 to go in the second as a net-front scramble saw forward Tyler Bump slam in a rebound for his fifth goal of the season.
It appeared briefly that Jared Pike had restored the two goal lead with 2:08 left in the middle stanza, but the referees ruled he had dislodged the net before scoring, so it remained a one-goal contest.
Despite a strong defensive effort from the Cats in the third, Minnesota managed to even the score at two with 6:59 left in regulation when a defensive zone turnover by the visitors came right to Magicians center Michael Wilson, who ripped a wrister over the glove of Bobcat goalie Hunter Shepard from the left wing circle.
Minnesota had a chance to take the lead with 45 seconds left in the game when Pierce Crawford was awarded a penalty shot, but Shepard flashed out the right leg pad to deny Crawford’s forehand attempt and send the game to bonus hockey.
In OT, Shepard made another highlight reel stop, ranging from his right to left to turn away a wide-open one-timer from Mitch Slattery to keep the game going.
Just 17 seconds after Shepard’s big stop, Strand wound into the slot on the forecheck and ripped a low wrist shot past the glove on Minnesota netminder Will Ulrich and in, lifting the Cats to a 3-2 victory.
As they had the night before, the Bobcats carried a 2-0 through 20 minutes, thanks to two transition goals in a 31-second span from Willie Brown and Oskars Batna after struggling to solve Ulrich in the game’s opening minutes.
Shepard nailed down his 27th win of the season on 19 saves—11 of which came after the second intermission. Ulrich turned in 32 stops but could not avoid falling to 13-13-4 on the year.
Now the Bobcats return home to open a two-game series against the Aberdeen Wings, starting Friday at 7:15pm at the VFW Sports Center.
Tickets are now on sale for Friday’s home contest: fans can buy and print tickets online 24 hours a day at BismarckBobcats.com, by clicking “Shop Now” on the team Facebook page or charge-by-phone at 222-3300.
Friday’s edition of the Titan Machinery Dakota Cup 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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