Slow Second Period Damages Bobcats in Showcase-Opening Loss
BLAINE, MN – Though the Bismarck Bobcats started and finished their Easton NAHL Showcase-opening game strong Wednesday, a lackluster second period cost the Cats a 3-2 loss at the hands of the New Jersey Titans.
Tied 1-1 after one, New Jersey came out with a determined attack and broke the deadlock just 2:11 into the middle frame when Michael Gelatt buried a back-door feed from veteran Bruno Birzitis.
Defenseman Dakota Ford extended the lead to 3-1 with 11:14 left in the second on a broken play, grabbing the loose puck when his shot was blocked on the power play and ripping it into the upper left corner of the net before Bobcat netminder Hunter Shepard could recover from coming out to challenge the initial effort.
To compound their problems, the Bobcats struggled to create offense, putting only one shot on net during an extended 5-on-3 in the minutes after Ford’s insurance tally.
In the third, the Cats came out with a renewed sense of purpose and took the fight to the Titans, outshooting New Jersey 12-4 in the stanza.
Aaron Herdt’s third goal of the season came just 4:30 into the third when Willie Brown freed the former Moorhead Spud for a short breakaway that Herdt cashed in five-hold on New Jersey goalie Jack Berry to bring the Cats within one at 3-2.
Unfortunately, the Cats could draw no closer, as in-tight chances from Jared Resseguie and Logan Rivard narrowly missed the mark and a last ditch 6-on-5 assault with Shepard pulled yielded no goals—handing the Titans the win.
New Jersey got the scoring started 6:04 into the game—also on a broken play—as a deflected shot bounced right to Anthony Cusanelli, allowing the rookie to spin a low forehand inside the right post for a 1-0 Titans advantage.
Brown pulled the Cats level, breaking free behind the New Jersey defense and ripping a wrister off Berry’s shoulder and in with 8:48 to go in the opening frame.
Shepard made 19 stops but fell to 2-1-0 on the young season. Berry turned aside 30 Bobcat offerings to get back to .500 at 1-1-0.
The Bobcats continue Showcase play Thursday with a 7:15 showdown with the South Division’s Topeka Roadrunners.
Thursday’s old-school tilt 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 this season, now is the time! Call 222-3300 today to reserve your seats.
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