Top-End Tilt

Top Divisional Contenders Set to Clash

BISMARCK, ND — The top two teams in the North American Hockey League's Central Division will square off for a pair of contests this weekend as the second-place Bismarck Bobcats host the top-ranked Austin Bruins Friday and Saturday at the VFW Sports Center.

"We haven't seen Austin since November," illustrated Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, "so these are a couple games we've been looking forward to for a long time. Both teams will look different than the last time we played, so it will be an interesting matchup."

Through four meetings in 2012-13, the Bobcats are an even 2-2-0 against the front-running Bruins, with each side earning a split at the other's home rink.

Entering the weekend, the Cats (25-14-3, 53 pts) trail Austin (32-7-5, 69 pts) by a daunting 16 points, but with two games in hand over the Bruins and six head-to-head contests remaining the Bobcats maintain hope of their second consecutive regular season divisional crown.

"We've got a lot of ground to cover but we know we've still got a chance at first place," offered Bobcat forward Cory Chapman, who has five goals and six assists in the last 15 games. "There isn't a lot of room for mistakes, especially against a team as talented as the Bruins."

Austin comes into the series with the league's best power play: sporting an eye-popping 24.75% efficiency rate, led by second-year forward Brandon Wahlin who not only leads the league in scoring with 55 points, but also has an NAHL-best 27 points on the man advantage.

With the big series looming, the Bobcats pulled off a trade at the 2012-13 roster deadline with the Fargo Force of the USHL to acquire forward Matt Pohlkamp.

Pohlkamp, who is committed to Bowling Green State University, netted four goals and six assists with the Force prior to the trade.

Both Friday and Saturday's contests are scheduled for 7:15 PM puck drops.

Tickets for the series are on sale by calling the Bobcat Box Office at 222-3300; fans can buy and print tickets online right now at

Friday's top-two 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 PM.

Pro-rated season tickets for the 2012-13 season are now on sale—and going fast! Call the Bobcat Hockey office today at (701) 222-3300 to reserve your seats for another great season of Championship Entertainment.