Unleash the Fury, Mitch

Jan 21, 2017

Walinski’s Five-Point Night Paces Bobcat Blowout

BISMARCK, ND – Forward Mitch Walinski turned in a season-high five points, including four goals, to power the Bismarck Bobcats to a 9-1 drubbing of the Brookings Blizzard Friday at the VFW Sports Center.

Walinski’s first point of the night came just 22 seconds into the game when the Rhode Island native forced a turnover at the Brookings blue line that allowed Jared Resseguie feed Tobias Fladeby for a close-range backhand tap-in to post the Bobcats to a lightning-quick 1-0 lead.

The midseason acquisition doubled the advantage to 2-0 at the 11:43 mark on the power play when a Tristan Ashbrook shot was blocked cleanly to the left-wing circle, allowing Walinski to snap a one-timer over the blocker of former Bobcat netminder Nick Althaus.

Brookings pulled themselves back into the game with 8:10 left in the first when defenseman Brett Callahan capitalized on a Bobcat defensive-zone turnover, zipping a rising shot off the right post and in past the glove of Bobcat goalie Severi Isokangas.

With 2:18 gone in the second, Bobcat co-captain Zach Kennedy pushed the score to 3-1 when a Cooper Haar pass landed at his feet for a close-range one-timer that found the net through Althaus’ five-hole—snapping a 14-game goalless streak for the third-year winger.

Isokangas provided the game with its turning point at the 5:32 mark of the second, denying a point-blank one-timer from Brookings’ Taylor Schneider in transition.

Just 43 seconds after Isokangas’ key denial, Nick Alexander weaved his way through the Brookings defense on the rush, recovering a temporarily lost puck to dive through the goal mouth and deposit his eighth goal of the year for a 4-1 count.

Then, 0:54 after Alexander’s strike, Walinski notched his second goal of the night, taking a drop pass from Fladeby on a 2-on-3 zone entry and sniping a sharp angle wrist shot over Althaus’ glove to make it 5-1 after two.

Walinski capped of the Cats’ first hat trick of the season 2:11 into the third, threading a snap shot from the left-wing faceoff dot inside the left post. He then earned a natural hat trick—three consecutive, uninterrupted goals—with another power play strike: lifting a wrister under the crossbar while falling down with 11:48 left to pad the lead to 7-1.

Matej Murin and Tristan Ashbrook put the finishing touches on the Bobcats’ offensive explosion, striking 2:53 apart mid-way through the third for the final margin of 9-1.

Isokangas stood tall in net to improve to 3-1-0 since coming to the Bobcats on January 12, turning away 26 of 27 Brookings shots. Althaus struggled against his 2015-16 squad, making just 23 stops in defeat.

Both sides will reconvene for a Saturday rematch at the VFW Sports Center, scheduled for a 7:15pm puck drop.

Tickets are now on sale for Saturday’s tilt: fans can buy and print tickets online 24 hours a day at BismarckBobcats.com or charge by phone at 222-3300.

Saturday’s grudge match 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.