Piotrowski Delivers Bobcats OT Winner
BISMARCK, ND – Deep into overtime of a game where it looked like luck might not be on their side, the Bismarck Bobcats caught a huge bounce when J.M. Piotrowski’s shot was blocked by the Brookings Blizzard defense into their own net to lift the Cats to a 3-2 victory Saturday at the VFW Sports Center.
Things started well for the Bobcats, as well, as the team’s co-captains hooked up to open the scoring when Evan Giesler cashed in a cross-ice pass from Cullen Willox on the power play 8:25 into the game for a quick 1-0 lead.
With the score, Giesler moved past Ryan Wiggins (1999-2001) for fourth place in franchise history with 47 career goals.
The Cats’ advantage would grow to 2-0 with 7:09 to go in the first on the forecheck as newly minted assistant captain Matt Perry elevated a bad-angle backhander over the blocker of Brookings goalie Ryan Kubic to halt a 12-game goalless streak.
As they did the previous two meetings, however, Brookings shrugged off the two-goal deficit: starting on a power play rush when center Oscar Odd floated a transition pass on the power play that deflected off a skate and in past Bobcat netminder Hunter Shepard at the 12:06 mark of the second.
Four and a half minutes later, an ill-timed line change by the Bobcats granted the Blizzard a 3-on-1 rush that Joe Anderson converted on a one-timer from Zach Glienke to even the score at two.
After enduring an early third-period flurry by Brookings, the Bobcats outshot the Blizzard 5-1 over the last 10 minutes regulation but neither goalie relented, sending the game to overtime.
In bonus hockey, Nick Wallace triggered a 2-on-1 for Piotrowski and Jared Turcotte; as the lead defender split the difference between the two Bobcats, Piotrowski pulled into the low slot and fired a shot that Kubic got a piece of, but a backchecker—diving to close the passing lane to Turcotte—blocked the puck into the Brookings net with 2:03 left in OT, bringing an announced crowd of 1,500 to its feet.
Piotrowski’s winner—his third against Brookings—clinched the season series for the Bobcats over the Blizzard at 7-4-0 with one matchup remaining on February 20.
Shepard needed just 14 saves to wrap up his ninth win of the year; Kubic slipped to 2-1-2 against the Bobcats and 6-5-5 overall despite 32 stops.
The Bobcats will stay home next weekend as they host the archrival Aberdeen Wings for a two-game series at the VFW Sports Center, starting Friday at 7:15pm. Through six meetings, the Bobcats hold an 11-3 lead in the Titan Machinery Dakota Cup standings.
Tickets are now on sale for both nights: fans can buy and print tickets online 24 hours a day at BismarckBobcats.com or charge by phone throughout the week at 222-3300.
Live coverage of Round Seven of the Dakota Cup 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 now past the half-way mark, there is still time to order season tickets for the year; fans who want to lock in their seats for the entire campaign should call the Bobcat office at 222-3300 today!