Sometimes you romp to a win and sometimes you escape with a win.
For the Bismarck Bobcats, Saturday’s 4-3 victory over the Austin Bruins was one of the latter.
Bismarck entered the third period with a comfortable 4-1 lead on the visitors, but things got decidedly uncomfortable before things were said and done.
Austn’s Liam Thrawl and Jan Stefka popped in a pair of goals in a 26-second span in the middle of the final session to cut the Bobcat lead to one, and from that point on it was white-knuckle time for the hosts.
Layne Sedevie, the Bobcats coach and general manager said Saturday’s victory was “absolutely” harder than it had to be.
“We’re going to make mistakes … but I’d rather they be mistakes on the aggressive side,” Sedevie said.
“Right now we’ve got to figure out how to play with a lead. We have a lot of new guys and it’s a work in progress,” Sedevie added.
The Bobcats jumped to a 4-1 lead courtesy of two tallies apiece by Jared Resseguie and Tobias Fladeby.
Resseguie scored in the middle of the first period and Fladeby added a strange power play goal in the final two minutes. Fladeby, near the boards behind the net, slipped the puck at the net. The shot hit netminder Jake Kucharski’s pads and trickled into the net to give Bismarck a 2-0 edge.
Austin answered early in the second period on a goal by Dan Petrick, but the Bobcats responded quickly. Resseguie scored at 10:57, and Fladeby converted a long cross-ice pass from Joey Sardina to score from the right circle at 17:16.
The visiting Bruins took advantage of two Bobcat penalties to put a lot of heat on Bobcats goalie Will Ulrich over the final 20 minutes, firing 14 shots his way.
Ulrich was especially busy at mid-period with the Bobcats skating a man short. In two sequences within a minute he made stops and turned away ensuing rebounds to keep the Bruins from tying the contest.
All told, Austin outshot the Bobcats 31-26.
“We’ve got some guys who can score … and I do like our character a little bit,” Sedevie said. “We found a way to win (5-4) last night and we found a way to win tonight. The four points are obviously a good thing.”
The Bobcats, now 4-3, return to action next Saturday, visiting Minot for a single game with the Minotauros. Austin leaves the VFW Sports Center 2-3-1. All six of the Bruins games have been decided by one goal.