BISMARCK, ND – Aaron Nelson locked down his first junior shutout and the Bismarck Bobcats flexed their defensive muscles Thursday, halting the Minot Minotauros 2-0 on Thanksgiving at the VFW Sports Center.
With the win, the Bobcats ran their win streak to six and remained perfect in three home games on Thanksgiving.
“How about our fans [Thursday],” remarked Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, marveling at the energy of the sellout crowd of 1,269, “I have to really say thank you to the Bismarck/Mandan community for coming out and supporting our guys and making our Thanksgiving games such a blast.”
It was a quick first period volley from the Bobcats offense that carried the day before the goalies locked down.
Donald Olivieri scored his eighth of the year, one night after his first fight in two years, making a deft deke to his left on a 1-on-2 rush, splitting the Minot defense and snapping a low shot across his body that beat Tauros goalie Jake Hebda inside the far post 4:49 into the game for a 1-0 Bobcat lead.
“I have no idea how I did that,” grinned Olivieri, who eight goals tie him for tops among NAHL blueliners, “but Patty Moore made a great play to get me into the zone and I caught a little magic to get free for the shot after that.”
Castan Sommer followed Olivieri’s strike with his 15th of the season, creating his own breakaway after a defensive zone steal and ripping a snap shot past Hebda’s blocker to push the lead to 2-0 in favor of the home side with 2:47 left in the opening frame.
Nelson and Hebda, however, stepped up after Sommer’s insurance tally: combining to turn back the next 50 shots they’d see to create a defensive slugfest.
For Nelson, a Bismarck native and former standout netminder at Century High School, the shutout came as a bit of a relief with many relatives in the stands for Thanksgiving.
“I was pretty nervous most of the night; my whole family was in the stands [Thursday],” admitted Nelson, who improved to 5-1-0 with the win. “They don’t get a chance to come to a lot of games so it was really cool to get my shutout with everybody here to see it.”
Hebda took the hard-luck loss, stopping 43 shots but slipping to 2-11-0 on the 2011-12 season.
The Bobcats and Minotauros get right back to business Saturday with a 7:35 PM date at Maysa Arena.
Saturday’s rematch will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270, KLXX-AM, and worldwide on the official internet television partner of the NAHL, FASTHockey, at http://nahl.fasthockey.com. Pregame coverage gets under way at 7:05. Fans can watch the game—and all away contests—live at Reza’s Pitch at Third and Front in Bismarck, the official away game home of Bobcat Hockey.
Season tickets are now on sale for the 2011-12 season—and going fast! Call the Bobcat Hockey office at (701) 222-3300 or email email@example.com for more information on reserving a pro-rated package for this season!