Bobcats Set to Face Bruins in Division Finals for Fourth Time
Matchup: Bismarck Bobcats (37-19-4, 1st Central) vs Austin Bruins (29-27-4, 3rd Central)
Games: Friday, April 29, 7:15pm; Saturday, April 30, 7:15pm
Venue: VFW Sports Center, Bismarck, N.D.
Series: Series tied 0-0
Regular Season Series: Bobcats won series 4-2-2
All-Time: Bobcats lead Bruins 30-20-4 (8-5 in playoffs)
Radio: SuperTalk 1270 AM, SuperTalk1270.com and the radioPup smartphone app, 6:45pm both nights
Internet TV: http://NAHL.FASTHockey.com, 6:45pm both nights
BISMARCK, ND – For the fourth time in the last five seasons, the Central Division title will come down to the Bismarck Bobcats and the Austin Bruins; for just the second time, the best-of-five-game Central Division Finals will begin at the VFW Sports Center with a 7:15pm Friday start.
“You look at the Central Division, at the Central Cup, it just always seems to come down to the Bobcats and the Bruins,” noted Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, whose side also faced Austin in the divisional final in 2012, 2013 and 2014. “We had a very competitive season series with [Austin] and I don’t think anybody expects this series to be any different.”
Since 2009, every single Central Division Final series has featured either the Bobcats, Bruins or both. The last time they met in the postseason, in 2014, Austin earned their first trip to the Robertson Cup Tournament with a five-game series win; Bobcat skaters Nick Wallace and Alex Strand still remain from the 2014 playoff run.
“I still remember how the end of that series felt,” admitted Wallace, who has appeared in all 15 Bobcat playoff games during his three-year career, “and it’s motivated me to work harder and harder every day, so that we can be in this position now.”
In eight meetings this season, each team won four games with the Bobcats holding a slight edge in head-to-head points with a 4-2-2 mark. Home ice was a major advantage in the regular season, with each team winning three of four games in their own buildings.
During the postseason, third-year winger Willie Brown has been the Bobcats’ top scorer with seven points on two goals and five assists; blueliner Patrik Demel’s two goals in the first round matched his regular-season total in 56 appearances and his five points are tops among playoff defensemen.
In net, Hunter Shepard has submitted a 3-1 record in the 2016 Robertson Cup Playoffs to go with a 2.01 GAA in four starts to go with a .933 SV%.
Veteran center Jade Miller leads not only the Bruins in playoff scoring but also the entire league with nine points (3g, 6a) in four games; the Minto, N.D., native has a goal in each of Austin’s wins and at least one point in every game.
Netminder Kristofer Carlson went 3-2-0 against the Bobcats this season and has a 3-1 playoff mark with a 2.26 GAA and a .930 SV%.
Tickets are now on sale for the first weekend of the Central Finals: fans can buy and print their tickets online 24 hours a day at BismarckBobcats.com, by clicking “Shop Now” on the team Facebook page or charge-by-phone at 222-3300.
Friday’s series opener 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 6:45pm.
Tickets are now on sale for the Cats’ run in the 2016 Robertson Cup Playoffs and are already going fast! Lock in yours for the entire playoff run by signing up for 2016-17 season tickets today.