Special Teams Struggle in Road Loss as Cats Split Weekend
AUSTIN, MN – The Bismarck Bobcats’ special teams surrendered four goals and the offense couldn’t make up the difference Saturday night as the Cats fell 4-2 to the first-place Austin Bruins at Riverside Arena.
Following a Bobcat flurry in the early goings that saw Filip Starzynski hit the crossbar and numerous strong saves from Bruins netminder Nick Lehr, Austin snatched a 1-0 lead heading into the first intermission when blueliner Cody Dixon fired home a 5-on-3 power play goal with 3:30 to go in the opening frame.
In the second period, the Bobcats’ early season nemesis—short-handed goals allowed—reared its ugly head as a miscommunication by the visitors’ power play unit led to a breakaway for Bruins veteran C.J. Smith, who converted the opportunity through the legs of Bobcat goalie Bryan Nies to double Austin’s lead to 2-0 3:41 into the stanza.
Starzynski managed to solve Lehr with 3:42 left in the second, stuffing home a no-look pass from Mike Dockry on the rush to chop the deficit in half at 2-1 heading into the third.
Despite outshooting Austin 10-7 in the final frame, the Bobcats could not find the equalizer on Lehr, whose second-chance saves kept the Cats’ offense in check all night.
Back-to-back special teams strikes by the Bruins—a power play goal from Josh Bretner and a short-handed strike on a delayed call on the Bobcats by Scott Nelson—in the final ten minutes of regulation sealed the Cats’ comeback hopes.
Patrick Moore picked up his fifth point of the weekend with a power play goal for the Bobcats with 14 seconds left in regulation but that is as close as the Bobcats would get as the game would end 4-2 in favor of the frontrunning Bruins.
Nies made 24 saves in defeat, slipping to 4-4-0 on the season. Lehr, named the game’s number-one star, picked up his fifth win of the year with 37 saves.
The Bobcats will get a 7:15 PM rematch with the Bruins Friday as Austin invades the VFW Sports Center for the first of two games in Bismarck next weekend.
Friday’s tilt will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270, KLXX-AM, and worldwide on the official internet television partner of the NAHL, FASTHockey, at http://nahl.fasthockey.com.  Pregame coverage gets under way a half hour before each contest.
Season tickets for the 2012-13 season are now on sale—and going fast! Call the Bobcat Hockey office today at (701) 222-3300 to reserve your seats for another great season of Championship Entertainment.