OWATONNA, MN – Bismarck Bobcats forward Tim Serratore fired the puck past Owatonna Express goalie Chris Paliafito with 19 seconds left in regulation to snap a four-all tie and lift the Bobcats to a 5-4 win in a classic contest between the top two teams in the Central Division at the Four Seasons Center on Sunday.
The win gives the ‘Cats a 3-0-0 sweep of their three-games-in-three-nights weekend at Alexandria and Owatonna and gives Bismarck (12-7-5, 29 pts) a four-point lead over the Express (12-6-1, 25 pts) for first place in the Central.
It was the Express who had early control of the contest, however, as the home team struck at the 11:09 mark of the first period when Owatonna forward Dan Cecka turned a Bobcat defensive zone turnover into his fifth goal of the year and a 1-0 Express edge.
Just 24 seconds later Chris Darnell rocketed a transition shot past Bobcat netminder Ryan Massa to make it a 2-0 lead for the home side with 10:45 left in the first.
The Bobcats would respond seven minutes later as leading goal-scorer Ryan Jacobson notched his 13th tally of the year, firing a Devin Schmitt end-boards rebound past Paliafito’s glove to cut the lead to 2-1 heading into the first intermission.
Nick Jensen took over for the Bobcats in the second, blistering a snapshot by Paliafito just 61 seconds into the middle frame to tie the game at two.
Owatonna wasted no time in striking back, collecting a Jake Youso goal with 16:44 left in the second for a 3-2 Express edge.
Jensen wasn’t done scoring, though, as he took a Sam Dougherty pass off a face-off in the Owatonna zone and slid a backhander through Paliafito’s legs to restore the tie at 3-3 after two periods.
The Bobcats’ power play would open the scoring in the third when Sam Rendle weaved a wrist shot from the point through traffic and between Paliafito’s legs to give the ‘Cats a 4-3 advantage 3:03 into the third.
That lead lasted exactly 31 seconds, however; Express forward Zach Vierling dislodged the puck from the Bobcat defense in the Bismarck end and tipped it to captain Cory Thorson, who rocketed a one-timer past Massa to set the stage for the thrilling ending.
Massa turned away 27 Express shots to pick up his fifth straight win and improve to 6-4-1 in 2009-10.
Paliafito registered just 22 saves and fell to 1-4-0 on the year.
The Bobcats return to action Thursday for a special Thanksgiving night game against the Alexandria Blizzard at 7:15 PM at the VFW Sports Center.
The game will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270, KLXX-AM, and worldwide at BismarckBobcats.com via B2 Networks. The pre-game show starts at 6:45 PM.
You won\’t want to miss any of the games this season, so order your Season Tickets, Family Packs and Group Nights today by calling the Bobcat Hockey Office at 701-222-3300 or by e-mailing the office for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.