Specialty teams played a big role in the Bismarck Bobcats’ third straight win.
The Bobcats posted a 5-1 victory over the Minot Minotauros on Friday night at Maysa Arena in Minot.
It was the Bobcats’ second win over the Tauros in three days, and Bismarck’s first regulation victory over Minot this season. Bismarck has won three of four games against their rivals from the north, with a shootout win, an overtime win and a regulation victory.
Austin Schwartz scored two power-play goals and assisted on another as the Bobcats scored three times with the man advantage. Coming into the night, the Bobcats had scored only two goals on their first 19 power-play opportunities, ranking 18th in the NAHL.
The Bobcats grabbed the lead early on.
With Max Bogdanovich in the box for interference, Schwartz scored a power-play goal at 4:27 of the first period. The Bobcats captain’s second goal of the season came on an assist from Quinn Rudrud, giving Bismarck a 1-0 advantage.
Late in the first period, specialty teams helped Bismarck add to the lead.
George Grannis scored a shorthanded goal with 9 seconds left before the first intermission. Ryan Taylor assisted on Grannis’ third goal of the season. It was just the second shorthanded goal for Bismarck this season, giving the Bobcats a two-goal lead heading to the second period.
Grannis scored the overtime game-winner on Wednesday against the Tauros.
The Bobcats came into the game ranked last in the league on the penalty kill (64.7 percent), allowing six goals on 17 opportunities. But on Friday night, they killed off all four of Minot’s chances to go along with a shorthander.
The Bobcats outshot the Minotauros 14-3 in the opening 20 minutes. Noah Altman stopped all three shots he faced, while Keenan Rancier finished a busy opening period with 12 saves.
Schwartz cashed in on a man advantage again in the second period to push it to a three-goal advantage. With Christian Kadolph off for boarding, Schwartz scored his second power-play goal of the night and third goal of the season, off assists from Rudrud and Grannis at 6:38.
Minot finally got on the scoreboard just before the second intermission.
Cole Stofflet notched his first goal of the season off an assist by Jack Westlund with seven seconds left in the second.
The Bobcats, outshooting the Minotauros 27-9, took a 3-1 lead to the final period.
Rudrud scored the Bobcats’ third power-play goal at 15:01 of the third. Schwartz and Luke Gramer assisted on the play, which made it a three-goal lead again at 4-1.
Braden Costello added an insurance goal off an assist from Taylor at 18:48.
The Bobcats put 40 shots on goal to Minot’s 17. Altman stopped 16 of the 17 shots he faced for Bismarck. Rancier ended the night with 35 saves for Minot.
The Bobcats (4-5-0-0) host the Minotauros (4-3-2-1) on Saturday night at 7:15 p.m. at the VFW Sports Arena.
In addition, the Bobcats announced that opponents for December games have been updated due to Covid protocols. On Dec. 4-5, the Bobcats will face Aberdeen, on Dec. 11-12 they will square off with Austin and on Dec. 18-19 they will take on Minot. All the games will be played at VFW Sports Center in Bismarck, starting at 7:15 p.m. All season ticket holders and sponsors will be contacted about tickets.