Late-game heroics have been hard to come by for the Bismarck Bobcats this season.
Adam Stacho reversed the trend on Friday night at the VFW Sports Center, scoring the game-tying goal with just under four minutes to play against the Minnesota Wilderness.
But at the end of the night, the Bobcats took a tough 2-1 shootout loss to the Wilderness.
The Bobcats – who entered the weekend series in fifth place in the NAHL Central Division, but just four points behind the third-place Wilderness – were 0-14-1 when trailing after two periods. Stacho’s equalizer, coming on a one-timer from out in front off a pass from Alex Pollock, gained the team an important point in the standings.
“I thought we had some urgency late, which was nice,” Bobcats coach Layne Sedevie said.
But the Wilderness got goals from Edward Lindelow and Ben Ward in the shootout to gain the extra point in the standings.
Each team missed on its first attempt in the shootout. Stacho answered Lindelow’s goal in the second round, but after Ward scored, Mitch Walinski’s attempt went just over the crossbar.
“I thought we were OK in the first, pretty flat in the second, OK at times in the third.,” Sedevie said “To me, it was a little disappointing with what’s on the line here.”
The Bobcats had a pair of power-play opportunities in the scoreless first period but couldn’t get one in the net.
“I thought we dictated play in the first period but we have to have urgency on the power play.” Sedevie said. “I know we had some good looks tonight but we have to find a power play goal. That’s the difference. We had four power plays and some decent looks, we had some good puck possession, but at the end of the day our power play needs to be better. And we have to play for 60 minutes.”
Eric Gotz’s blast from the point eluded Bismarck goaltender Johnny Roberts at 16:38 of the second period, giving the Wilderness a 1-0 lead.
Still, Roberts was sharp all night, making several big saves and finishing with 23 stops for the Bobcats (18-18-2-2).
“It looked like there was some traffic in front but Johnny was great all night,” Sedevie said.
Jacob Sibell finished with 29 saves for the Wilderness (21-17-2-1).
Neither team scored in the five-minute 4-on-4 overtime, giving each a point in the standings and setting up the shootout.
“I’m proud that we got a point,” Sedevie said. “I know it’s only one point and we gave them two, but if we can come and get our two tomorrow and don’t give them any, that’s our goal tonight.”
The two teams square off again tonight at 7:15 p.m.