Bobcats Start Second-to-Last Road Swing in South Dakota
Matchup: Bismarck Bobcats (32-16-3, T-1st Central) at Aberdeen Wings (20-22-11, 4th Central); at Brookings Blizzard (19-27-6, 6th Central)
Games: Friday, March 18, 7:15pm; Saturday, March 19, 7:30pm
Venues: Odde Ice Center, Aberdeen, S.D.; Larson Ice Center, Brookings, S.D.
Season Series: Bobcats lead Wings 11-0-0; Bobcats lead Blizzard 7-1-1
All-Time: Bobcats lead Wings 45-14-10; Bobcats lead Blizzard 27-13-3
Radio: SuperTalk 1270 AM, SuperTalk1270.com and the radioPup smartphone app, 6:45pm Friday; 7:00pm Saturday
Internet TV: http://NAHL.FASTHockey.com, 6:45pm Friday; 7:00pm Saturday
ABERDEEN, SD – With just nine games remaining in the 2015-16 regular season, the Bismarck Bobcats will begin their penultimate run of away games with a trip through South Dakota as they take on the Aberdeen Wings Friday at the Odde Ice Center before heading further south to the Larson Ice Center to tangle with the Brookings Blizzard Saturday.
With Tuesday’s 2-1 overtime victory over the Wings, the Bobcats (32-16-3, 67 pts) are back in a first-place tie with Minot (31-17-5, 67 pts) in the Central Division standings; Aberdeen (20-22-11, 51 pts) sits four points clear of Minnesota (20-25-7, 47 pts) and seven up on Brookings (19-27-6, 44 pts) for the Central’s fourth and final playoff spot heading into the weekend.
“Our intensity is going to have to be high and our focus will need to be sharp both nights,” advised Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, whose team has already equaled or surpassed their standings-point totals from the previous two campaigns. “Right now, we’re [clinched into] the postseason but Aberdeen and Brookings are both fighting for their playoff lives—they’re going to be playing desperate, urgent hockey here with less than 10 games left [in the regular season].”
Among the Cats’ chief priorities on the weekend will be to jump-start an offense that has managed just three goals in its last three games, a 1-0-2 stretch.
“The biggest key—maybe the only key—this weekend is to score goals,” added Sedevie. “You look at our production from the last 10 games [2.5 GPG]: it isn’t where we need it to be at this time of the year. The crazy part is, our guys are making the right plays and putting themselves in the right spot, but they’re just snake-bitten; confidence will go a long way right now.”
Despite the offensive brown-out, Bobcat goalies Hunter Shepard and Nick Althaus have accumulated a 7-1-2 record in that same 10-game span, thanks to a combined 1.27 GAA and .945 SV%.
At 3-1-2 in March, Aberdeen is having their best month of the season so far, led by two goals and three assists from former Fargo South/Shanley standout Tyler Bossert up front, along with netminder Peter Thome submitting a 2.70 GAA and a .921 SV% since February ended.
Brookings, meanwhile, has gotten some of their best play of the season out of keeper Josh Kuemichel who, despite a 1-2-0 record in his last five appearances, has posted a 2.34 GAA and a .921 SV%. With 13 goals and 27 assists, center Griff Jeszka has given the Blizzard their fifth 40-point scorer in four seasons since moving to Brookings.
Friday’s go-round in the Titan Machinery Dakota Cup 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 6:35pm.
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 starting later this week to reserve their seats and get Playoff Priority.