Stumbling Block

Mar 9, 2012

BISMARCK, ND – With a chance to seize home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs on the line, the Bismarck Bobcats fell victim to a red-hot Austin Bruins team, dropping a 6-2 decision on home ice to the surging Bruins Saturday at the VFW Sports Center.

The Bruins have won eight in a row to pull within four points of second-place Alexandria for home ice in the first round of the Robertson Cup Playoffs.

Austin withstood an early charge from the home side as Bruins goalie Nick Lehr turned aside ten Bobcat shots in the first ten minutes of the game before John Simonson was able to turn a centering feed from Chris Fischer into a 1-0 lead for the visitors with 2:21 left in the first period.

Chase McDonald doubled the Austin lead to 2-0 just 11 seconds later, firing a shot on the rush that deflected off a Bobcat defender and in past goalie Tommy Burke.

The Bobcats were able to battle their way back into the game 4:45 into the second period when Shane Omdahl slammed home a Nick Miglio rebound to halve the lead at 2-1.

Austin responded with three straight goals, though, from Jonathan Gehrt, Jeremy Finger and Charlie Adams to seize control of the game with a 5-1 lead after two periods.

“I thought we responded well early in the second but things fell off after that,” explained Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, whose team closed its four-game homestand with a 2-1-1 mark. “We haven’t played very consistently lately and we need to get that fixed right away.”

Tyler Richter pulled the Cats within three with 9:02 left in the game, rocketing in a transition pass from Dan Zawacki to shave the lead to 5-2 but Austin Nelson beat Bobcat replacement goalie Aaron Nelson on the rush to boost the Bruins to the final 6-2 margin.

Burke finished with 26 saves but suffered his seventh loss of the year; Nelson made five saves in relief but did not figure into the decision.

Lehr, who has now won both of his starts at the VFW Sports Center this season, came up with an impressive 35 saves and improved to 8-6-1 on the year.

The Bobcats could not shave their magic number for the division down from four points over Alexandria, as the Blizzard defeated Aberdeen 4-1; the magic number for home ice in the first round over Austin remains at one.

It will be a fast turnaround for the Bobcats, too, as they have a mere two days off before they make the trek down to Odde Ice Center for a rare Tuesday contest against the Aberdeen Wings at 7:15 PM.

Tuesday’s Titan Machinery Dakota Cup showdown 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 Pregame coverage gets under way at 6:45. Fans can watch Tuesday’s game—and all away contests—live at Reza’s Pitch at Third and Front in Bismarck, the official away game home of Bobcat Hockey.

Season tickets are still available for the second half of the 2011-12 season—and going fast! Call the Bobcat Hockey office at (701) 222-3300 or email for more information on reserving a pro-rated package for the rest of the season!