Bobcats Rally for Season-Closing Win
BISMARCK, ND – The Bismarck Bobcats wrapped up the 2012-13 regular season by winning 2-1 in come-from-behind fashion at Maysa Arena against the Minot Minotauros Saturday.
In a penalty-filled first period—one that featured 18 penalty minutes between the two sides—Mason Morelli posted the Tauros to a 1-0 lead with 8:06 to go in the frame, blasting a one-timer from Collin Abitz in past Bobcat goalie Bryan Nies for the 12th goal of his rookie campaign.
It wouldn’t take long for the Cats to answer back, however, as Patrick Moore grabbed a centering feed out of the corner from Matt Anders and waited for Minot netminder Ryan Ruck to commit before firing the puck into the cage for a 1-1 tie just 1:32 after Morelli’s go-ahead goal.
The game stayed tied at one for nearly 30 minutes of hockey thanks to a pair of game-changing saves by Nies, who denied short-handed breakaways in the second and third period by Tauros forward Jake McCann.
“Bryan made some big stops out there to give us a chance to win,” noted Bobcats assistant coach Garrett Roth, who filled in for head coach Layne Sedevie Saturday while he was suspended for a game misconduct earned Friday. “He’s playing with confidence and having two goalies playing well is a huge bonus heading into the playoffs.”
On their eighth power play of the night, the red-hot Bobcat ‘PP’ finally broke through when rookie Evan Giesler registered his sixth goal of the month and seventh of the season on a tap-in of a Matt Pohlkamp rebound to give the Cats a 2-1 lead with 17:30 left in regulation.
Giesler’s tally gave the Bobcats their fourth straight game with a power play goal and their 17th power play marker in March; the Cats’ output for the season’s final month accounted for nearly a third of the team’s total 2012-13 power play production of 45 goals.
Though they were awarded a power play in the final the last four minutes, Minot could not break through Nies or the Bobcats’ shot-blocking defense for the equalizer and, when the clock wound down to 0:00, the black and gold finished the regular season with 35 wins.
Nies, who opened the year in net for a 3-1 win over Jamestown, made 26 saves to nail down his 11th victory of 2012-13. Ruck took his 11th loss despite 27 stops.
Courtesy of Saturday’s win, the Bobcats wrapped up their season series against Minot with a record of 8-3-1.
Since their previous trip to the Maysa, a frustrating 2-0 loss to the Tauros on March 1, the Bobcats strung together a 6-0-3 run to finish the season with a mark of 35-16-9 and 79 points, a full 10 points ahead of Brookings (32-23-5, 69 pts) for second place in the Central Division.
With the regular season now in the rear-view mirror, the Bobcats will get a full 13 days off before opening the 2013 Central Division Semifinals against the Blizzard on Friday, April 12, at the VFW Sports Center.
Playoff tickets will go on sale Monday at BismarckBobcats.com; fans can still get playoff priority by signing up for 2013-14 season tickets before Monday by calling the box office at 222-3300.