After dropping a 3-2 decision to the Wenatchee Wild on Saturday, the Bobcats slipped to 3-5-0 on the season, one of the worst starts in franchise history.
But coach Layne Sedevie said the Bobcats are hardly in panic mode.
“I’m not concerned about that right now,” Sedevie said. “That’s motivation. I don’t think we’re a 3-5 hockey team, but you know what? We put ourselves in that situation, and it’s our job to get out.”
The Bobcats seemed to be taking a step in that direction when they hit Wenatchee with two goals in the first 3:14.
Former Century High standout Dan Kovar got things rolling when he blasted a shot from the right point past Wenatchee goalie Jordyn Kaufer at the 2:31 mark. It was Kovar’s first of the year.
Just 43 seconds later Shane Omdahl doubled Bismarck’s lead, converting a pass from Patrick Moore and ending Kaufer’s evening.
“I thought we came out and had good jump,” Sedevie said. “We chased their goaltender. We got two quick goals, it was a little bit like (Friday) night.”
Kaufer was replaced by Robbie Nichols, who proved more difficult to solve — he stopped all 17 shots he faced.
Chris Kerr started Wenatchee’s turnaround midway through the period, scoring his third goal of the weekend.
The Wild tied it up at 9:02 of the second, Evan Schmidbauer scoring just one second after a Bismarck penalty expired.
Later in the period, Jono Davis, the NAHL’s leading scorer, made the game-winner a nifty one. He lifted a backhand over the blocker of Bismarck goalie Bryan Nies for his eighth of the season.
Bismarck had chances to score, but failed to convert a good number of them in to shots, never mind goals.
“I don’t know if I’ve seen a team hit so many posts or not be able to bury chances — and Grade A chances, too,” Sedevie said. “Even late in the game, with 20 seconds left, we got the puck right in the slot. We just can’t find the back of the net right now.
“The tough part is it’s our guys who are supposed to step up and make that play,” he added.
The power play continued its slump. An 0-for-6 night knocked down Bismarck’s success rate to 6.25 percent (2-for-32).
“I thought our power play at least had some decent puck movement,” he said.
Bismarck has played a very difficult early schedule. Wenatchee is 8-0-0, and the six teams the Bobcats have faced are a combined 34-9-1.
Still, for a team that has won the Central Division finals four years in a row, it’s hard to put a positive spin on 3-5-0.
“I think our guys are a bit frustrated,” Sedevie said. “They’re getting themselves to good spots, and confidence will come.”
n NOTES: The Bobcats found a way to improve their power play — with an assist from the league.
A crash wreaked havoc on the NAHL’s Pointstreak statistical Web site Friday night. Among the many errors filed in the box score was the omission of a couple of third-period penalties on Wenatchee. Not only did that reduce Bismarck’s power-play opportunities by two, it also erased the two short-handed goals the Bobcats gave up in 17 seconds.
Unless the mistakes get corrected, the Bobcats are at least back to break-even on their power play, with two goals scored and two allowed — at least on paper.
Wenatchee 1 2 0 — 3
Bobcats 2 0 0 — 2
First period: 1. B, Dan Kovar 1 (Matt Anders), 2:31. 2. B, Shane Omdahl 2 (Patrick Moore, Bob Kinne), 3:14. 3. W, Chris Kerr 6 (Tyler Rostenkowski), 11:06. Penalties: W, Ross Luedtke (hooking), 4:03. W, David Mead (checking from behind), 804. W, Mead, 10-minute misconduct (checking from behind), 8:04. B, Connor McPherson, double minor (checking from behind), 12:24. B, McPherson, game ejection (checking from behind), 12:24.
Second period: 4. W, Evan Schmidbauer 2 (Trace Redmond, Tyler Bruneteau), 10:58. 5. W, Jono Davis 8 (Chris Diver), 16:10. Penalties: W, Lance Carney (hooking), 1:45. W, Derick Kuchera (high-sticking), 2:21. B, bench minor (abuse of officials), 4:09. B, Kovar (checking from behind), 8:14. B, Kovar, 10-minute misconduct (checking from behind), 8:14. W, Jeremy O’Keefe (delay of game), 8:57.
Third period: No scoring. Penalties: W, Rostenkowski (slashing), 5:03. W, Joshua Hartley (elbowing), 13:35.
Goalie saves: W — Jordyn Kaufer 0, Robert Nichols 17. B — Bryan Nies 20.
Penalties: W — 6 minors, 1 10-minute misconduct. B — 4 minors, 1 10-minute misconduct, 1 game ejection.
Records: W 8-0-0; B 3-5-0.