AUSTIN, MN -- Down early on the road, the Bismarck Bobcats rattled off three unanswered goals Saturday to surge past the Austin Bruins for a 3-1 win at Riverside Arena--halting a season-high five-game losing slide.
"Our guys battled hard and did what it takes to earn a road win in the Central Division," remarked Bobcats head coach Layne Sedevie, "It's a big relief to get back in the win column but we can't enjoy this one too much because we've got a big game against Coulee Region [Sunday]."
The Bruins struck quickly, seeming to build momentum from their four-goal outburst to close Friday's game, when forward Cody Hotchkin redirected a point shot from John Kirby through the legs of Bobcat goalie Ryan Faragher on the power play to boost the home side to a 1-0 lead just 4:00 into the game.
Brett Bower responded 3:07 later, firing a 30-foot shot that pinballed off two Bruin defenders and past Austin goalie Keegan Asmundson to tie the game 1-1.
"It was a lucky bounce for sure," laughed second-year veteran Bower, "but it was a good feeling to finally get a little lucky. It seemed the last few games all the bounces were going against us."
An early turning point for the Bobcats came with just over five minutes left in the first when Austin forward Mike Adamowicz laid a high hit on Bobcats defenseman Nick Romanick, separating the Bismarck High
graduate's shoulder and knocking him out of the game.
Romanick's former Demon teammate Tyler Richter challenged Adamowicz to a fight on the ensuing faceoff, firing up the Bobcat bench despite the loss of Romanick's 6'4" presence on the blue line for the night.
The two teams battled through a scoreless second period before another former Demon, Grant Mindt--pressed into service on defense with injuries to Tom Rizzardo and Dalton Spicer--push the Bobcats in front,
guiding a low liner that caromed off both posts before sliding into the net for the eventual game-winner just 2:05 into the third.
Faragher stole the show the rest of the way, making 17 saves including numerous point-blank stops on a late 5-on-3 Bruins power play before leading scorer Matt Gates turned an offensive zone steal into an empty-net strike with 35 seconds left to seal the game at 3-1.
"Everything felt better from start to finish, for everyone I think," noted Faragher, who made 45 saves to earn his 20th victory of 2010-11. "I made a couple of what I call 'Roberto Luongo saves'--you know, a
little lucky--but however they happened, we'll take them and get ready for the Chill [Sunday]."
Asmundson finished with 25 saves but couldn't avoid his 12 loss of the year.
The Bobcats will wrap up their three-game road swing with a 6:00 PM Sunday showdown at the Omni Center against the second-place Chill, who lead the Bobcats by one point for second place in the wide-open Central Division.
Sunday's weekend finale will be broadcast locally on the radio home of Bobcat Hockey, Super Talk 1270, KLXX-AM, and worldwide at http://nahl.fasthockey.com/
. As with all away games during the 2010-11 season, fans are encouraged to view the game at Reza"™s Pitch"”the official away game Home of the Bobcats"”at the corner of Third and Front in Bismarck. Pre-game coverage will begin at 5:30 PM CT.