Bobcats Outlast Blizzard, Run Win Streak to Six
BROOKINGS, SD – In a building where no lead is ever safe, the Bismarck Bobcats got a late scare but hung on for a 4-3 win over the Brookings Blizzard at Larson Ice Center, completing the sweep of a three-game, three-night road weekend between Minot and Brookings.
Staked to a 3-2 lead over halfway through the third period, the Bobcats got a little breathing room at 4-2 when blueliner Noah Bormann stole the puck at center, chipped it to himself off the boards to enter the Brookings zone and unload a booming slap shot that beat Blizzard netminder Zachary Borgiel high to the glove side with 8:51 left in regulation.
Brookings pulled back within one at 4-3 with just 10 seconds left in the game when center Chase Brand slammed home a loose puck before recently acquired Bobcat goalie John Roberts could get himself back into position after the initial save on Doug Larson.
In the game’s final seconds, a blue line turnover by the Bobcats led to a frantic scramble in front of Roberts that saw the puck pinball off sticks and skates in the slot before second-year center Matej Murin pulled the puck to safety to run out the clock for a 4-3 victory for the visitors.
“When that puck went into the slot I thought ‘here we go again,’” admitted Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, who has seen multiple last-second defeats come the Cats’ way at Larson Ice Center. “But this year is this year, and last year and the years before that are done: our guys didn’t worry about what happened in the past; they did what they needed to get all six points.”
For the eighth straight contest, it was the Bobcats who scored first when a Grant Johnson forecheck freed the puck for Ty Enns, who fed Adam Stacho for a one-timer that the Slovakian winger buried under the crossbar for a 1-0 score with 6:26 left in the opening frame.
Forward Jimmy Elser knotted the game at one with 13:45 remaining in the second, ripping a shot through traffic that eluded Roberts’ glove for Elser’s second goal in as many nights.
A five-minute major penalty called on Brookings proved pivotal for the Bobcats when Stacho and Michael Mahan scored power play goals on the un-releasable major in a span of 107 seconds to turn a tie game into a 3-1 score in favor of the Cats with 7:11 left in the middle frame.
“The major power play was a chance for our guys to show how they’ve learned and progressed,” noted Sedevie, whose team has now scored power play goals in four straight games (5-for-14 in those games on the man advantage) after opening the season a league-worst 1-for-37. “A few weeks ago, that might have been a situation where our ‘PP’ shot itself in the foot but [Saturday] they played with confidence and turned the game in our favor.”
Before the period could end, however, Brookings got back within one at 3-2 on a Vince Marino redirect of an Elser 40-footer with 1:36 to go before the second intermission to set up Saturday’s wild finish.
Roberts, who arrived earlier in the week in a trade from the Shreveport Mudbugs, dazzled with 25 saves for his first win of the season. Borgiel turned in 20 stops but slipped to .500 at 2-2-0.
With the win the Bobcats extended their winning streak to six games, their longest since running off seven consecutive wins between January 15th and February 5th, 2016.
Now the Bobcats turn their attention to a weekend home-and-home against the arch rival Minot Minotauros, starting at Maysa Arena Friday before shifting to the VFW Sports Center on Saturday.
Tickets are on sale now for the Cats’ Saturday homecoming: fans can buy and print tickets online 24 hours a day at BismarckBobcats.com or by clicking “Shop Now” on the team Facebook page.
Friday’s installment of the Subway ND Cup will be broadcast live locally on Super Talk 1270 AM, the radio home of the Bismarck Bobcats, and worldwide at HockeyTV.com, the official web broadcast partner of the North American Hockey League. Pre-game coverage will begin at 7:10pm.
Pro-rated season tickets are still on sale for the Bobcats’ 2017-18 campaign: lock in the best seats now and be here for all the action! Visit BismarckBobcats.com or call 222-3300 for more info.