Pohlkamp’s Pair Helps Bobcats Pull Away
AUSTIN, MN – Matt Pohlkamp scored a pair of goals in the first period and Matt Anders picked up three points to help the Bismarck Bobcats pick up a 5-2 road win over the Austin Bruins at Riverside Arena Friday.
With the win, the Bobcats (32-16-9, 73 pts) reduced their magic number—points gained in the standings plus points lost by Brookings—to just one over the third-place Blizzard (31-21-5, 67 pts) for home ice advantage in the opening round of the 2013 Robertson Cup Playoffs.
“Right now, it’s the time of the year where everybody is doing a lot of scoreboard watching,” admitted Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, “but if we can take care of business and get a win [Saturday] we don’t need to watch any scoreboards because home ice will be ours.”
Pohlkamp got the Bobcat offense on track with 11:10 to go in the first period, grabbing the puck in traffic off a Stanislav Dzakhov rebound and rifling a low shot past Bruins goalie Nick Lehr to boost the Cats to a 1-0 lead.
Just 36 seconds later, though, Austin answered right back on the rush as top goal-scorer C.J. Smith eluded the Bobcat defense on the rush, stepping to his left before firing a rising shot over Bobcat netminder Aaron Nelson to tie the score at one.
When the Bobcats found themselves on their first power play late in the opening frame, Anders stickhandled through the Bruin penalty kill and tapped a centering feed off Lehr and through the goal mouth to Pohlkamp, who stung the puck into a wide-open net to push the Cats ahead 2-1 with 2:15 to go in the first.
Austin was able to tie the game once again at 2-2 with 14:46 left in the second as Nelson made two point blank stops on Bruins forwards Drew Anderson and Grant Eichstadt but Eichstadt was able to collect his own rebound and lift it into the net for his fourth goal of the year.
Hot on the heels of their second successful penalty kill of the night, the Bobcats pulled back ahead at 3-2 on the rush as Anders saucered a centering feed to Bob Kinne, who whipped a one-timer past Lehr at the 12:00 mark of the middle frame.
“Our ‘PK’ did a great job tonight of limiting Austin’s chances without overpursuing and getting out of position,” illustrated Sedevie, whose team killed off all three chances against the Bruins’ league-leading power play, “and it created some momentum for us at some key points, none bigger than Bob’s goal.”
Anders doubled the lead to 4-2 2:46 later, taking his turn to cash in a transition opportunity as the 6’2” rookie out of Lafayette, Colo., looked off a pass to Nate Repensky before rolling a shot below Lehr’s blocker and in.
Defense dominated the third period, as the Nelson and Lehr combined for just five saves over the final 20 minutes.
When Austin head coach Chris Tok pulled Lehr for the extra attacker, Bobcat forward Cory Chapman intercepted a long breakout pass from Josh Bretner and whipped a 100-foot shot into the empty net with 1:07 left in the game for the final count of 5-2.
Nelson needed just 17 saves to secure his 22nd win of the 2012-13 season; Lehr matched Nelson’s save total at 17 but suffered his eighth defeat of the year.
The two sides will reconvene for one final regular season meeting Saturday at 7:05 PM at Riverside Arena.
Saturday’s season series finale 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 6:40 PM.
Bobcat fans can get 2013 Playoff Priority if they reserve 2013-14 season tickets today! Call the Bobcat Hockey office at (701) 222-3300 to reserve your seats for another year Championship Entertainment and get first crack at seats in the 2013 Robertson Cup Playoffs.