You've Got a Friend in Me

Wood’s Big Night Keys Bobcats’ Game Two Victory

BISMARCK, ND – Back in the lineup for the first time since April 22, Bismarck Bobcats forward Travis Wood racked up three points—including the game-winning goal—as the Bobcats topped the Austin Bruins 4-1 Saturday at the VFW Sports Center to seize a 2-0 series lead in the best-of-five-game Central Division Finals.

With the Bobcats clinging to a 1-0 edge, Wood—who had been suspended the previous two games—provided a major turning point to Saturday’s contest: just 67 seconds after Bruins forward Austin Rueschhoff rang the crossbar on a power play scoring opportunity, Wood found a little space in transition and tucked a low wrister inside the left post for a two-goal swing that gave the Bobcats a 2-0 lead just 1:54 into the period.

A stroke of good fortune put Austin right back into the game at the 6:03 mark of the middle frame when the rebound of an AJ Drobot bad-angle shot deflected off the facemask of center Travis Kothenbuetel and in to cut the Cats’ lead to 2-1.

The Bobcat power play delivered some much-needed breathing room in the dying moments of the second as Jared Pike notched his first goal of the playoffs by redirecting a point shot from Aaron Herdt with one second left in the period to stretch the lead back to two at 3-1.

Willie Brown put the finishing touches on the night’s scoring with 15:45 left in regulation, getting free on the rush thanks to a well-placed entry pass from Wood and beating Austin netminder Kristofer Carlson glove side for the night’s final goal and a 4-1 Bobcat advantage.

Austin only managed six shots on net the rest of the way, as the Bobcat defense and goalie Hunter Shepard held the fort over the last 15-plus minutes of the game to nail down the 4-1 victory.

The only goal of the first period belonged to Bobcat forward Tobias Fladeby, who corralled a crossing pass from Cole Souto and ripped a rising snap shot in past Carlson’s blocker with just 1:33 left in the frame to push the Cats in front 1-0.

Shepard picked up his fifth postseason win, making 25 saves for the second consecutive night. Carlson took the loss despite 26 stops.

Now the scene shifts to Riverside Arena Friday for Game Three, scheduled for a 7:05pm puck drop.

Friday’s game will be broadcast live locally on SuperTalk 1270, KLXX-AM, the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, and worldwide online at—the official web television partner of the North American Hockey League—with pregame coverage starting at 6:35pm.

Tickets are now on sale for the Cats’ run in the 2016 Robertson Cup Playoffs and are already going fast! Lock in yours for the entire playoff run by signing up for 2016-17 season tickets today.