Bobcat Weekend Preview: Cats Make Final Trip to South Dakota
Matchups: Bismarck Bobcats (25-20-1, 3rd Central) vs. Brookings Blizzard (16-22-8, 5th Central); Aberdeen Wings (21-24-2, 4th Central)
Games: Friday, February 20, 7:15pm; Saturday, February 21, 7:15pm
Place: Larson Ice Center, Brookings, S.D.; Odde Ice Center, Aberdeen, S.D.
This Year: Bobcats lead Blizzard 7-4-0; Bobcats lead Wings 7-2-1
All-Time: Bobcats lead Blizzard 20-11-2; Bobcats lead Wings 36-14-8
Radio: SuperTalk 1270 AM, 6:45pm both nights
Internet TV: http://NAHL.FASTHockey.com, 6:45pm both nights
BISMARCK, ND — With the playoff race still entirely undecided in the Central Division, the Bismarck Bobcats will play their final regular-season road games against their South Dakota counterparts as they strike out for a Friday date against the Brookings Blizzard at Larson Ice Center before wrapping up the weekend with a Saturday duel versus the rival Aberdeen Wings.
Brookings, Friday’s opponent, was active at last week’s roster deadline: trading for 22-point scorers Blake Kelley and Ben Campbell from Coulee Region and Kenai River, respectively, to bolster their lineup in hopes of chasing down a playoff spot in the last month and a half of the regular season.
Of their last three meetings, Brookings has won two–including a 4-3 decision the last time the Cats visited Larson Ice Center on January 17.
Beau Michaud continues to lead the Blizzard’s offensive charge with 43 points (14g, 29a), giving the Brookings captain the third-highest scoring total in the Central Division.
After the Bobcats went 5-0-1 in their first six meetings against Aberdeen, the Cats have split their last four matchups in the Titan Machinery Dakota Cup with the Wings.
Aberdeen has been able to hold Brookings at bay for the final postseason slot in the Central thanks to a big surge in net by rookie Andrew Shortridge: the native Alaskan is 3-1-0 since January 31 to help the Wings preserve a four-point lead over the Blizzard.
For the Bobcats, improved goaltending has kept them within striking distance of a high playoff seed as Alex Bitsakis and Hunter Shepard have combined for 98 saves in three games in February, with an aggregate 1.67 GAA and .951 SV% this month.
Live coverage of Friday’s final visit to Brookings 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 over half way through, there is still time to order season tickets for the year; fans who want to lock in their seats for the remainder of the campaign should call the Bobcat office at 222-3300 today