Bobcats to Open 2017 with Divisional Pair
Matchups: Bismarck Bobcats (13-17-1) vs Aberdeen Wings (13-14-3); Minnesota Wilderness (16-13-3)
Games: Friday, January 6, 7:15pm; Saturday, January 7, 7:15pm
Venues: Odde Ice Center, Aberdeen, S.D.; VFW Sports Center, Bismarck, N.D.
Season Series: Wings lead Bobcats 3-1-1; Wilderness lead Bobcats 4-0-0
All-Time: Bobcats lead Wings 48-16-11; Wilderness lead Bobcats 13-7-2
Radio: SuperTalk 1270 AM, SuperTalk1270.com and the radioPup smartphone app, 6:45pm both nights
Internet TV: http://www.HockeyTV.com, 6:45pm both nights
ABERDEEN, SD – Looking to bounce back from a rough start to the second half of their twentieth season of junior hockey, the Bismarck Bobcats will kick off 2017 with two important divisional fixtures starting Friday at Odde Ice Center against the Aberdeen Wings before the scene shifts to the VFW Sports Center for a Saturday matchup against the Minnesota Wilderness.
“We finished the way we wanted heading into Christmas break, but took a step back last week against Minot,” lamented Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, whose team dropped all three contests before New Year’s to the archrival Minotauros. “Now we come into this weekend knowing that we need to find a way to get some points, period.”
Friday, the Cats will look to slow down the Wings, whose defense locked down Brookings for a pair of wins to close out 2016—earning netminder Forbes Ploszaj the Central Division Star of the Week award. The Bobcats have dropped three straight to Aberdeen after opening the season with consecutive wins over their long-time rivals.
Aberdeen is led in scoring by the duo of Kevin Fitzgerald (11g, 14a) and Carson Dimoff (8g, 17a) at 25 points each. Dimoff has had particularly strong performances against the Bobcats, turning in three goals and five assists in five appearances—earning at least one point in all but one of those contests.
“All year, Aberdeen has been a better team than their record shows,” credited Sedevie. “They’re talented and fast and our guys need to be responsible with the puck, especially in the neutral zone if we want to have any success in a barn that’s very difficult to play in.”
Minnesota, meanwhile, holds a perfect record against the Bobcats so far this season: winning both games in Cloquet and both games at the VFW against the black and gold.
Saturday could be a little more personal for both sides this time around, with the two teams executing an early-December trade that saw the Cats ship Ashton Altmann to Minnesota in exchange for forwards Michael Mahan and Mitch Walinski.
Top scorer Tim Nicksic is back with the Wilderness after a brief stint in the USHL; the Wisconsin native is averaging a point per game with 13 goals and 16 assists in 29 games played.
The Bobcats, meanwhile, continue to be led in scoring by second-year winger Tobias Fladeby. Committed to American International College, Fladeby is tops in the Central Division and seventh league-wide in points with 32 (15g, 17a).
“We know that we are not where we want to be, record-wise, right now,” admitted Fladeby, “but nobody is hanging their head in our locker room or feeling sorry for themselves. We are excited to get back out there to start the new year and prove to everyone how good our team can be.”
Tickets are now on sale for Saturday’s home date: fans can buy and print tickets 24 hours a day at BismarckBobcats.com or charge by phone at 222-3300.
Friday’s 2017 lidlifter will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270 AM, and worldwide on HockeyTV.com–the web television partner of the North American Hockey League–with pregame coverage starting at 6:45pm.
Pro-rated season tickets are now on sale for the Bobcats’ landmark platinum anniversary campaign fans can get more information or reserve their seats for all of Season Twenty now by calling 222-3300.