Bobcats Toppled by Tough Third Period
BISMARCK, ND – Leading at home after 40 minutes, the Bismarck Bobcats suffered their worst period of the 2015-16 campaign Friday: allowing four unanswered goals to fall 5-2 to the Minnesota Magicians at the VFW Sports Center.
Ahead by a score of 2-1 at the second intermission, the Cats began to come unraveled just 58 seconds into the third when newly acquired Minnesota winger Owen Larson launched a blind pass toward the front of the net that pinballed in off rookie goalie David Fessenden to quickly tie the game.
Just 2:58 thereafter, the Magicians claimed a 3-2 lead on the power play when a defensive breakdown by the Bobcats allowed Rico Ratajczyk to walk free to the front of the net and slam a low forehand in past Fessenden.
Though the Bobcats controlled most of the play for the ensuing 13-plus minutes, they struggled to get pucks to the net—stymied by a concerted shot-and-pass-blocking effort from the visitors.
A defensive-zone turnover by the Cats proved critical when Brady Heppner swiped the puck from the Bobcat defense and fed a falling Peter Karavos, who stuffed it home from his side to push the Minnesota advantage to 4-2 with 2:57 remaining.
Pulling Fessenden to press for some late offense, the Bobcats failed to maintain control of the puck, springing Ratajczyk to break into the Cats’ zone and fire a rising snap shot into the empty net with 1:08 left for the final margin of 5-2.
Third-year center Alex Strand got the Cats offense going with 9:30 to go in the first, collecting a back door feed from Tobias Fladeby and punching a short shot in past Magicians netminder Drew Hotte for a fast 1-0 lead.
Minnesota evened the score on the power play at the 10:38 mark of the second, capitalizing on a miscommunication on a Bobcat faceoff win as Casey Jerry slammed home a back door feed from Kevin Dineen.
Fladeby restored the home side’s one-goal edge 3:06 later, tucking home a 2-on-1 pass from Harrison Aide to make it 2-1 and set the stage for Minnesota’s third-period explosion.
Fessenden made 16 saves in his second career start but dropped to 0-2-0; Hotte made the most of his first NAHL appearance, stopping 22 shots for the victory.
The Bobcats will look to rebound Saturday when they wrap up their two-game weekend against the Magicians with a 7:15pm puck drop.
Tickets are now on sale for Saturday’s contest: fans can buy & print tickets online 24 hours a day at BismarckBobcats.com or Monday-Friday during normal business hours at 222-3300.
Saturday’s rematch 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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