Williams Blanks Blizzard 6-0

BISMARCK, ND – Bismarck Bobcats goaltender Jake Williams turned back all 32 shots he faced Saturday as the Bobcats whitewashed the visiting Alexandria Blizzard 6-0 at the VFW Sports Center.

The shutout comes in Williams’ first start in net for the Bobcats after being acquired from the Fairbanks Ice Dogs over the Christmas break. It also comes on the heels of the Bobcats’ 4-2 defeat at the hands of the Blizzard in Alexandria on Friday.

“Everything looked better out there when compared to [Friday] night,” said Williams, who improved 3-4-0 overall on the 2009-10 campaign, “we were more physical, more aware defensively, stronger on the forecheck, crisper passes—night and day from [Friday].”

Bobcat captain Casey Kleisinger opened the scoring just 1:38 before the end of the first period, taking a centering feed from Sean McKenzie and beating Alexandria netminder Chris Kamal with a low backhand for a 1-0 lead heading into the locker room.

The ‘Cats extended the lead in the second when Bryce Schmitt found a streaking Nick Jensen with a backhand saucer pass, springing Jensen to fire a five-hole shot past Kamal to make it 2-0 12:09 into the middle frame.

Defenseman Matt Shost gave the home team a 3-0 cushion with 1:32 remaining in the second, taking a back-door pass from McKenzie and whipping the puck into a wide open net.

“That was a nice little roommate connection,” said Shost, who came to the Bobcats along with McKenzie from the Wichita Falls Wildcats in October, “Sean was falling down and he made an incredible play to get it to me while I was wide open in front.”

The Bobcats poured it on in the third, getting power play goals from Jason Fabian and Dan Weissenhofer just over three minutes apart before Ryan Jacobson gave the ‘Cats the final 6-0 margin with his 20th tally of the year with 2:40 left.

While the Bobcats only outshot the Blizzard 33-32, the majority of the game was spent in the Alexandria defensive end as the Bobcat forecheck kept the puck deep much of the night.

“What can you say about the forecheck?” added Williams. “Those guys were working so hard at the other end—and when it’s in the offensive zone for so long it’s pretty tough for the other team to score.”

Kamal made 26 saves and took the loss while relief netminder Rob Tadazak stopped one of the two shots he faced after Kamal was lifted in the third period.

While the Bobcats are off until their Friday contest at Owatonna on January 22nd, five Bobcats will pack their bags and head to Ann Arbor, Mich., for the 2010 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament starting on Monday.

Among the Bobcats nominated to play for Team Central at the league’s all-star event are Kleisinger, Jensen, McKenzie, John Avino and Ryan Faragher.

The rest of the team will hit the practice ice before their trip to Owatonna for a 7:00 PM Friday contest against the second-place Express at the Four Seasons Centre.

Friday’s game will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270, KLXX-AM, and worldwide at BismarckBobcats.com via B2 Networks. The pre-game show starts at 6:30 PM.

You won\’t want to miss any of the games this season, so order your Season Tickets, Family Packs and Group Nights today by calling the Bobcat Hockey Office at 701-222-3300 or by e-mailing the office for more information at gobobcathockey@aol.com.