Tommy Gets Thirty

BISMARCK, ND – Tommy Burke made 30 saves and got a lift from his defense as the Bobcats downed the Austin Bruins 3-1 Friday at the VFW Sports Center in a clash of the top two teams in the NAHL’s Central Division.

With the win, the Bobcats extended their winning streak to seven games while halting Austin’s three-game tear.

“We had one of our better defensive efforts of the year through two periods,” noted Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, “but the Bruins threw the kitchen sink at us in the third period and Tommy came up big to give us a couple huge points at home.”

The red-hot offense got the home team rolling early as Castan Sommer knocked home a Bryce Anderson rebound 8:28 into the game to post the Bobcats to a 1-0 lead.

Patrick Moore followed Sommer’s go-ahead with a strike of his own on the power play 2:18 later, lifting another Anderson rebound over Bruin goalie Tyler Bruggeman to double the lead to 2-0.

“Austin’s penalty kill is very aggressive, so we made a point of getting good puck movement to find some room,” Moore added. “Bryce made a nice play twice in a row in getting the puck into an area for a rebound on that ‘PP;’ the first time Bruggeman made a great save and the second time I waited him out a little more.”

Tyler Richter added some insurance for the Cats with 4:40 to go in the second, taking a Frankie DeAugustine entry pass on the rush and zipping a low liner under Bruggeman’s glove—stretching the advantage to 3-0.

The Bruins got on the board late in the middle frame when Colton Kramer grabbed a John Simonson rebound on a scramble in front of Burke’s net and poked the loose change in to chop the lead to 3-1 with 1:41 remaining in the second.

Goaltending and shot-blocking took center stage in the third as Austin launched 11 shots at Burke’s net but could not draw any closer in the final frame as the Cats finished up an important 3-1 win to extend their Central Division lead to nine points over the second-place Bruins.

Rebound control was a major factor in Burke’s seventh straight victory in net.

“The way Austin creates chances on the rush is trying to get second-chance opportunities with net crashers,” said the second-year veteran netminder, who also snared a share of the league lead with his eighth win overall. “So it was important for me to control that first shot, whether that meant holding it for the whistle or putting the rebound to the corner or the wall.”

Bruggeman made 39 stops but could not avoid falling to 3-3-0 on the young season.

The two Central Division foes will clash again Saturday with a 7:15 PM start time at the VFW Sports Center.

Saturday’s series finale 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.

Season tickets are now on sale for 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 this season!