Special Teams Carry Bobcats Past Wings 4-2

Nov 11, 2010

ABERDEEN, SD – The Bismarck Bobcats got a huge lift from their penalty kill and notched a pair of power play goals on their way to a 4-2 victory over the Aberdeen Wings Friday at Odde Arena.

For the Bobcats, the win is their fifth in a row.

In a tightly contested first period it was the visiting Bobcats who struck first, 10:35 into the game, when Nikolaj Rosenthal pinballed a power play shot off two Wings defenders and past Aberdeen goalie Hunter Leisner for an early 1-0 lead.

It marked Rosenthal’s fourth straight game with a goal.

In the second period, the Bobcat penalty kill was called on often as the Wings enjoyed seven power plays, the third of which James Rudi Pino was able to convert, putting back a Cory Ward rebound for a 1-1 tie just 2:01 into the middle frame.

Ward’s assist extended his points streak to nine games, the second-longest active streak in the league behind Motor City’s Cody Wydo (16).

The Bobcats pulled back into the lead at 2-1 just 1:05 into the third when Matt Gates was able to redirect a Tom Rizzardo blast in the final second of a Bobcat power play.

“Tom and Danny [Ray] are moving the puck so well, and our power play set up is getting better every game,” noted Gates, who finished with a goal and an assist. “I love camping out in front of the net and putting myself in a position to tip shots or get rebounds.”

Aberdeen restored the tie six and a half minutes later when Nils Semjonovs took a neutral zone turnover by the Bocbats and bounced a rising wrist shot off Bobcat goalie Ryan Faragher’s glove and into the net, making it 2-2.

From there, the Bobcats took command of the game. With 6:53 left Rizzardo scored his fourth goal in four games, rocketing a low shot that deflected off a Wings defender and past Leisner for a 3-2 lead.

“Every time we’ve come here, the crowd has had a good time trying to get in my head,” noted a grinning Rizzardo, “so nothing in the world felt as good as scoring that goal and shutting them up.”

Just 13 seconds after Rizzardo’s go-ahead marker Grant Mindt, playing his first game of the 2010-11 campaign, redirected a centering feed from Gates through Leisner’s legs to quickly boost the lead to 4-2.

From there, Faragher and the Bobcat defense shut down the Wings, forcing long shots and getting an exclamation point on the win with 35 seconds left in the game when Faragher, lying flat on his back, shut down a point-blank chance from Semjonov for the final 4-2 margin.

The Fort Frances, Ont., native made 36 saves in collecting his 10th win of the year.

Leisner took the loss to fall to 7-8-1 on the year, making 32 saves in defeat.

The two rivals continue the Titan Machinery Dakota Cup with Saturday’s series finale, scheduled for a 7:15 PM puck drop.

Saturday’s contest will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270, KLXX-AM, and worldwide at http://nahl.fasthockey.com/. As with all away games during the 2010-11 season, fans are encouraged to view the games each night at Reza’s Pitch—the official away game Home of the Bobcats—at the corner of Third and Front in Bismarck. Pre-game coverage will begin at 6:45 PM CT.

Season tickets are now on sale for the 2010-11 season! Call the Bobcat Hockey office at (701) 222-3300 or email gobobcathockey@aol.com for more information on reserving your seats for the entire season as the Bobcats look to defend the Robertson Cup!