Bobcats Cool off Tauros with 3-0 Shutout
BISMARCK, ND – Aaron Nelson turned away all 31 shots he faced as the Bismarck Bobcats snapped the Minot Minotauros’ league-high six-game win streak with a 3-0 blanking of their in-state rivals Friday at the VFW Sports Center.
The Bobcats took an early lead as team captain Adam Knochenmus redirected an entry feed from Patrick Moore over the glove of Minot netminder Tyler Parks just 5:10 into the game to push the home side ahead 1-0.
From there, the teams settled into a defensive struggle, with the Minot trap stymying the Bobcat rush and keeping the score locked at 1-0 after one.
In the second the teams traded 5-on-3 penalty kills, with the Bobcats coming up empty on a 58-second two-man advantage before wiping out a full two minutes of 5-on-3 time for the Tauros just over halfway through the middle frame.
“Aaron came up with a couple big stops on that ‘PK’ but he wasn’t the only one who stepped up,” credited Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, whose team picked up its first win against Minot in three tries Friday. “You look at Jeremy O’Keefe, Dan Kovar and Bob Kinne: those guys had some big minutes 5-on-3 and helped keep [Minot] off the board.”
With neither team able to break through in the second, the game headed to the final frame with the Cats still ahead 1-0.
It took Mike Dockry just 84 seconds after the third period began to double the lead, streaking behind the Minot defense on the power play and popping the puck through Parks’ legs, padding the advantage at 2-0.
Coupled with the secondary assist on Knochenmus’ first-period strike, the goal gave the Dockry 10 points in his last nine games, vaulting the second-year forward into fifth on the team in scoring with 14 points overall.
“Talk about a guy who has battled through adversity and is really starting to come on strong,” marveled Sedevie. “Mikey has been through two hip surgeries last season and then started slow this year, but now he’s playing like we always knew he could when we recruited him out of Burnsville (Minn.) High School.”
Nelson came up with 10 more saves after Dockry’s insurance marker before Knochenmus put an exclamation point on the Bobcats’ victory with Parks pulled for an extra attacker, looping the puck into an empty net at the 1:45 mark for his second of the night and the final margin of 3-0.
Parks finished the night with 28 saves but could not avoid his first loss since November 10.
Nelson’s shutout is not only his second of the season but also his second straight at home, following a blanking of Brookings on November 24.
With the win, the Bobcats (14-11-2, 30 pts) stay two points ahead of Brookings (14-10-0, 28 pts) for second place in the Central after the Blizzard broke out of a six-game losing skid with a 2-0 win Friday at Aberdeen.
The Bobcats are now idle until a 7:35 PM Friday rematch with the Minotauros at Maysa Arena to open a two-game set with their northern rivals.
Friday’s series opener 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 7:05 PM.
Pro-rated season tickets for the 2012-13 season are now on sale—and going fast! Call the Bobcat Hockey office today at (701) 222-3300 to reserve your seats for another great season of Championship Entertainment.