Bobcats Never Lead, Win 3-2 Anyway
BISMARCK, ND – Despite trailing or being tied through the entirety of regulation, the Bismarck Bobcats gutted out a 3-2 win in overtime Wednesday over the Minot Minotauros at the VFW Sports Center to wrap up the preseason 1-1.
The Cats came out firing in the first period, outshooting the Tauros 7-1 in the first 10 minutes of the game but could not get the bounces to solve Minot goalie Jon Flakne. In six-minute span, Oskars Batna hit the post on the power play and Johnny Witzke, Jared Pike and Alex Strand all narrowly missed the net on point-blank opportunities.
Between the pipes, netminder Hunter Shepard kept things steady for the Bobcats, flashing his glove to deny golden opportunities for Austin Martinsen and Christian Mohs on defensive zone turnovers by the home side.
Mohs eventually broke the Tauros through, however, redirecting a low shot from Jared Brandt through Shepard’s legs from close range for a 1-0 lead that Minot would carry into the first intermission.
Though the Minotauros dominated the middle frame—outshooting the Bobcats 10-3 in the second—a power play near the midway mark turned the momentum toward the black and gold, culminating in Pike potting an equalizer on a rising wrister through traffic with 8:56 to go in the stanza.
That 1-1 tie would not last 30 seconds: Minot pulled right back ahead as another turnover freed Martinsen for a short breakaway that the rookie forward cashed in with a snap shot over Shepard’s glove to push the visitors back ahead 2-1.
In the third, the Cats steadied their performance, going shot-for-shot with the Tauros and eventually pulling even at 2-2 with 7:40 to go in regulation when Aaron Herdt stole the puck at the right faceoff dot in the offensive zone and snapped one over the glove of backup keeper Brandon Holtby.
Neither side was able to break the deadlock in regulation, sending the game to overtime.
Thanks to new rules handed down by the NAHL in the offseason, Wednesday provided the Cats’ first look at 3-on-3 overtime, which replaced the old 4-on-4 format that had been place previously.
Minot got the first good look of bonus hockey, but Shepard shut down a 3-on-1 rush for Mohs, Brandt and Tyler Jeanson with a glove stop.
Moments later, the Bobcats created pressure in the Minot end that saw Pike collect a Willie Brown rebound and loop it over the glove of Holtby, ending the game 3-2 in favor of the Cats with 3:42 left on the overtime clock.
Shepard turned away 28 of 30 Minot offerings, securing a 1-0 record in the preseason.
Holtby took the loss on 11 saves; Flakne made 18 stops but did not factor into the decision.
The Bobcats now turn their attention to Coors Light Opening Night on Friday, September 18, when they will face the defending Central Division Champion Austin Bruins at the VFW Sports Center.
Tickets are now on sale for the 2015-16 regular season lidlifter: fans can buy and print tickets online 24 hours a day at BismarckBobcats.com.
Coors Light Opening Night will be broadcast live on locally SuperTalk 1270 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.
Season tickets are now on sale for the 2015-16 campaign; if you want to beat the rush of 40,000 fans for next season, now is the time! Call 222-3300 today to reserve your seats.
Bobcats Never Lead, Win 3-2 Anyway