Turn Eighty

Feb 16, 2017

Stretch Run Starts for Bobcats in Aberdeen

Matchups: Bismarck Bobcats (19-23-2) vs Aberdeen Wings (22-18-3)
Games: Friday, February 17, 7:15pm; Saturday, February 18, 7:15pm
Venue: Odde Ice Center, Aberdeen, S.D.
Season Series: Wings lead Bobcats 6-1-1
All-Time: Bobcats lead Wings 48-19-11
Radio: SuperTalk 1270 AM, SuperTalk1270.com and the radioPup smartphone app (Bismarck market), 6:50pm both nights
Internet TV: HockeyTV.com, 6:50pm both nights

ABERDEEN, SD – The Bismarck Bobcats will look to build on the momentum of last Saturday’s home win when they hit the road Friday to open a two-game weekend series against the Aberdeen Wings at Odde Ice Center.

With seven straight wins—including a pair over the Bobcats three weeks ago—the Wings come into the weekend as the hottest team in the NAHL, having surged from last place on January 27 to the top half of the Central Division standings.

“Aberdeen is well-coached and talented so it’s not surprising to see them go on a run,” noted Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, “but you look at our last two games against them [2-1 and 5-3 losses on January 27 and 28, respectively] and they were definitely winnable games where the bounces didn’t go our way.

“That just means our guys need to go out and work hard and create their own bounces and their own puck luck on the road this weekend.”

Of the Wings’ seven straight victories, the last six have all featured mid-season acquisition Forbes Ploszaj in net; the Gilbert, Ariz., native has a 1.83 GAA in those six contests with a .938 SV% to propel Aberdeen into third place.

Veteran center Kevin Fitzgerald continues to pace the Wings’ attack, now averaging better than a point-per-game with 19 goals and 25 assists in 43 appearances with rookie Carson Dimoff (13g, 26a) just one goal or assist away from a 40-point debut campaign.

For the Bobcats, Norwegian forward Tobias Fladeby is also in the point-per-game club so far in 2016 with 45 pts (22g, 23a) in 44 games; with 15 goals and 24 assists—including four tallies and five helpers since January 28—first-year center Matt Barry is also one point away from 40.

Coming into the weekend, the Central Division standings remain congested, with Aberdeen (22-18-3, 47 pts) one point ahead of fourth-place Brookings (21-17-4, 46 pts) while the Blizzard sit three and six points ahead of Austin (19-20-5, 43 pts) and the Bobcats (19-23-2, 40 pts), respectively.

Major playoff positioning is on the line for the Bobcats and Wings, who also play two games next weekend to conclude their 2016-17 season series.

“You look at the standings, you see where everyone is at then you see that our next four games are against Aberdeen,” surmised Sedevie, “and it’s not hard to tell that the next two weeks will pretty much be for a playoff spot.

“So now it’s on our team to come out and respond to that situation appropriately.”

Friday’s rivalry battle will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270 AM, and worldwide on HockeyTV.com–the web television partner of the North American Hockey League–with pregame coverage starting at 6:45pm.

Pro-rated season tickets are now on sale for the Bobcats’ landmark platinum anniversary campaign fans can get more information or reserve their seats for all of Season Twenty now by calling 222-3300.