Goodbye losing streak.
The Bismarck Bobcats ended a three-game skid on Saturday night with a thrilling 4-3 shootout victory over NAHL Central Division rival Minot at the VFW Sports Center. Adam Stacho scored the only goal in the shootout, and goaltender Johnny Roberts denied Minot’s Taylor Lantz, Austin Dollimer and Michael Talbot in succession to give the Bobcats their 13th win in 27 games (13-12-2).
To end the losing streak, the Bobcats had to defeat a team that handed them a 6-2 loss on Friday.
“We didn’t play well last night, but we were ready to go tonight. This was a huge win for us,” Roberts said. “We fought hard and got ourselves back on track. Hopefully this is the start of a winning streak.”
Roberts was superb for the Bobcats, stopping 41 Minot shots in regulation and the overtime period. The Minotauros couldn’t solve him at all in the shootout, missing on three straight chances.
“Johnny played a great game tonight … so many big saves,” said Bismarck coach Layne Sedevie. “We have confidence in him. We knew he would step up in the shootout.”
Roberts said he relishes the opportunities that present themselves in shootouts.
“It’s just you and the other guy on a breakaway. It’s up to you and you alone to make sure he doesn’t score,” he said. “I face like a hundred breakaways in practice every day and I love winning those battles. It’s a challenge, but I’m always up for it. It’s a great feeling when you come out on top.”
Stacho put a short shot past Minot goaltender Jack Robbel after Roberts stopped Lantz on the Minotauros’ first chance. Roberts made a kick save on Dollimer, and later blocked Talbot’s dead-center shot to preserve the victory.
The Minotauros took a 1-0 lead with 13:54 remaining in the first period on a goal by Austin Koss. It stayed that way until Johnson – on the power play -- lit the lamp with 16:27 left in the second period.
Grant Loven gave the Minotauros a 2-1 lead 2:21 into the third period, but the Bobcats answered just 19 seconds later with a Lukas Millen goal. Alex Adams broke the tie with 3:35 remaining in the period, but only 16 seconds elapsed before Patrick O’Connor evened the score at 3-3.
In the closing seconds of regulation, Roberts denied Ryan Green on a breakaway, and Loven on an attempted putback, to keep it at 3-3.
Both teams had quality chances in overtime, but neither could cash in. Tanner Vescio nearly won it for the Bobcats, skating in close but shooting wide left with 15 seconds to play.
Sedevie said he saw a different Bismarck team than the one that lost in Minot on Friday.
“Minot just outplayed us last night, but we showed a lot of heart and a lot of resilience tonight,” he said. “We battled out there the whole night and that’s what you like to see.”