Despite Loss, Bobcats Sew up Home Ice in First Round
MINOT, ND – Though they gave up three goals in the third period on the road Thursday to drop a 4-0 decision to the rival Minot Minotauros at Maysa Arena, the Bismarck Bobcats managed to clinch home-ice advantage in the opening round of the upcoming Robertson Cup Playoffs.
After an early scoring chance went by the boards for the Bobcats, Minot controlled play in the first, culminating in Tyler Jeanson giving the Minotauros a 1-0 lead 4:59 into the contest on an in-tight scoring opportunity.
Bobcat goalie Hunter Shepard helped keep the score tight in both the first and second, making repeated goal-mouth-crossing saves to stymie Minot’s offense but the Cats’ offense could not help him out as it stayed 1-0 Minotauros through two frames.
Minot’s power play blew the game open in the third, getting two goals in a five-minute span from Max Reisinger and Chase Springman to pull out to a 3-0 advantage less than seven minutes into the final stanza to end Shepard’s night prematurely.
Reisinger tacked on a late marker against relief goalkeeper Nick Althaus, cashing in a defensive-zone turnover by the Bobcats for his second of the night for the final 4-0 count with 6:52 left in the game.
Netminder Gunner Rivers turned away all 30 shots he faced for his third shutout since joining the Minotauros before the roster deadline. Shepard took his 11th loss of the season—and seventh at the hands of Minot—on 26 saves; Althaus did not factor into the decision.
With Thursday’s loss, the Bobcats (33-18-3, 69 pts) fell two points back of Minot (33-18-5, 71 pts) for first place in the Central Division, but both North Dakota-based teams earned home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs thanks to a loss by Austin (26-24-4, 56 pts).
Now the Bobcats turn their attention to a two-game home series against the Brookings Blizzard, starting Friday at the VFW Sports Center.
Tickets are now on sale for Friday and Saturday’s home dates: fans can buy and print tickets 24 hours a day at BismarckBobcats.com, by clicking “Shop Now” on the team Facebook page or charge-by-phone 9:00am until 5:00pm at 222-3300.
Friday’s contest 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.
Now that the Bobcats are in the playoffs, now is the time to reserve your 2016-17 season tickets! All new season ticket buyers will receive Playoff Priority for the Cats’ 2016 Robertson Cup Playoff. Fans can call 222-3300 to reserve their seats and get Playoff Priority.