BISMARCK, ND–Every test a game could throw at a team was aced by the Bismarck Bobcats Friday night.
Short due to injury? No problem.
Beat the top point-producing team in the league? Absolutely.
With a three-goal third period, the Bobcats surged past the Fairbanks Ice Dogs 4-2 at the VFW Sports Center Friday, drawing even with NAHL Central-leading Austin for first place once again.
The Bobcats (19-8-3) erased two one-goal deficits to the Ice Dogs (21-9), who entered the night with the top point-percentage team in the NAHL (.724), along with a record of 16-3 when scoring the first goal.
Stanislav Dzakhov (Moscow, Russia) scored two goals to erase each of the leads Fairbanks took, each assisted by Tyler Dunagan (Maple Grove, MN). Seth Blair (Bismarck, ND) started the second goal after joining Dunagan and Dzakhov on the first line with Filip Starzynski (Warsaw, Poland) left the game due to injury.
Blair raced to a loose puck from an offensive-zone draw, and backhanded a pass to Dzakhov in the heart of the slot, who buried for the second time of the night, tying the game at 2-2 at 3:11 of the third.
Bismarck’s first lead came from a tremendous individual effort from Jacob McDowell (Dimondale, MI). Flowing through the center of the ice, he was hit by two different Ice Dog defenders, but reached back and pulled the puck into an offensive position, then fired past Kevin Aldridge for the eventual gamewinner at 13:21 of the period.
It was power play success that pushed the game out of reach, as increased Bobcat physicality noticeably wore down the Ice Dogs. Dan Kovar (Bismarck, ND) let loose from the left point with the man advantage, and Evan Giesler (Naperville, IL) touched in the goal at 16:52 cementing the win.
The Bobcats host the Ice Dogs again in the second half of the series Saturday night. Tickets are available by calling the Bobcat ticket office at 222-3300 or online at www.bismarckbobcats.com. Faceoff is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.