BISMARCK, ND – The Bismarck Bobcats will not have to wait long for another go-round with their archrivals, the Alexandria Blizzard, as the top two teams in the Central Division will meet for the second time in four days when the Blizzard make the haul west across Interstate 94 for a special 7:15 PM Wednesday showdown at the VFW Sports Center.
The Bobcats are fresh off a 4-3 Sunday win that snapped Alexandria’s league-high 11-game win streak and matched their season-high lead over the Blizzard in the Central standings at 15 points.
Wednesday’s contest comes as the fourth in a grueling stretch that will see the Cats eventually play eight games over the course of 15 nights, so the quick turnaround has caused the division leaders to reshuffle the priorities for the shortened week of practice.
“Getting rest has been the name of the game this week,” explained Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, “with so many games in a short span, it’s important our guys take care of their bodies so they can stay fresh.
“It’s a good lesson for the future, especially for when the playoffs roll around in a couple months.”
It is the Blizzard’s first trip to Bismarck since September 24, a 9-3 win for the Bobcats.
Alexandria has made some big roster upgrades since their last visit, reacquiring goalie Jacob Meyers—third in the NAHL in wins with 21—while adding contributors Aidan Cavallini and Hayden Trupp up front and trading Adam Knochenmus to the Bobcats in exchange for blueliners Charlie Aus (selected to the 2012 Top Prospects Tournament) and Rodney LaLonde.
Despite their win streak coming to an end Sunday, the Blizzard remain one of the hottest teams in the league, compiling a record of 18-5-1 since starting 8-6-1.
“They’re a really good defensive team with great goaltending,” assessed Bobcats goalie Tommy Burke, a long-time friend of Meyers. “Both teams are really evenly matched so it’s going to come down to which one is going to work the hardest.”
The Bobcats will be seeing a lot of the Blizzard the rest of the way, after they only played twice in the first half of the season; six of the Cats’ final 19 games will be against their western Minnesota rivals—more than any other team.
Beset by injuries in November, December and early January, the Bobcats got a bit healthier during last weekend’s series, welcoming back blueliner Rory Vesel after being without the rookie defenseman’s services following a jaw injury that put him out in late November.
Forwards Frank DeAugustine (concussion) and Mike Dockry (hip surgery) continue to practice with the team and are considered to be day-to-day.
Wednesday’s showdown 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 6:45.
Season tickets are still available for the second half of 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 the rest of the season!