January 13, 2013 - North American Hockey League (NAHL) - Bismarck Bobcats
BISMARCK, ND - The Bismarck Bobcats smothered the Aberdeen Wings in a commanding second period to rally for a 3-1 win over their arch rivals Saturday at the VFW Sports Center and complete the two-game, home-and-home sweep of the Wings on the weekend.
Trailing 1-0 after the first period, the Bobcats quickly equalized just 2:27 into the second period when Ryan Callahan notched his first goal of the season, grabbing an arcing stretch pass from Joe Giordano for a short breakaway and ripping a snap shot over the glove of Aberdeen netminder Chad Catt.
"That was a pretty great pass that Joe set up for Ryan," credited Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, whose team extended their lead in the Titan Machinery Dakota Cup standings to 10-3 over the Wings Saturday, "but for Cally to get his first was great for everybody, I think. All the guys were celebrating for him and that got everyone in the right frame of mind."
Bobcat captain Adam Knochenmus put the home side ahead for the first time 4:36 later, banging home a centering feed from Mike Dockry for his second goal in as many nights against the Wings.
Bob Kinne put a cap on the Cats' second period outburst with 3:13 remaining in the middle stanza, capping off a strong forecheck with Cory Chapman and Jeremy O'Keefe by bouncing a shot off the far post and in to make it 3-1 in favor of the home side.
All told, the Bobcats outshot the Wings 14-1 in the second period, not allowing the Wings a shot on goalie Aaron Nelson for the final 18:54 of the frame.
In the third period, the game took an ugly turn as the two teams racked up a combined 31 penalty minutes after just six penalty minutes were assessed through the opening 40 frames. The majority of those penalties were racked up with 12:49 to go in the game when Wings captain Justin Parizek was given five minutes and a game misconduct for checking Rory Vesel from behind.
The Bobcat defense locked down on the Wings once again to close the game, preventing Aberdeen from putting a shot on Nelson from the 5:51 mark until the final horn.
Just as they did Friday, though, the Wings struck first Saturday, opening the scoring with 1:34 to go in the first with a Jonathan Grebosky strike after a turnover at the Bobcat blue line.
Despite the deficit after 20 minutes, the Bobcats carried the pace of play in the first period as they hemmed the Wings in their own zone for the majority of the opening period and put numerous grade-A chances in on Catt.
"Even though we were down 1-0 after one, I actually thought we had a good first 40 minutes [Saturday]," noted Sedevie. "Give a lot of credit to Catt; he may have faced ten good scoring opportunities in the first and kept us off the board."
Nelson needed just 14 saves to collect his 14^th win of the year while Catt lost his first start in net for the Wings in spite of 34 saves.
With the win, the Bobcats secure second place in the Central Division standings for Monday's roster freeze for the 2013 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament in Troy, Mich. Second place not only guarantees the Cats four players on the "Team Dakota" roster, but also means that Sedevie will serve as assistant coach for Team Dakota with Austin head coach Chris Tok.
The Bobcats will wrap up their current three-game home stand with two games at the VFW Sports Center against the fourth-place Brookings Blizzard, starting Friday at 7:15 PM.
Tickets for the pivotal home weekend are on sale by calling the Bobcat Box Office at 222-3300; fans can buy and print tickets online right now at BismarckBobcats.com.
Friday's interstate contest 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 b4fc0f&idf9d439aaf1&e43c657e6ea. Pregame coverage gets under way at 6:45 PM.