Another streak bit the dust at the VFW Sports Center.
Coming off a big win over Central Division leader Aberdeen last weekend that halted the Wings’ 19-game winning streak, the Bobcats ended another long streak.
Bismarck scored two early goals and scored twice in the shootout in its 3-2 victory over second-place Austin – giving the Bobcats their first home-ice win over the Bruins since Dec. 17, 2016.
“It’s our building. It’s our two points. It doesn’t always work that way but I felt like the better team tonight got the extra point,” Bobcats coach and general manager Layne Sedevie said.
The Bobcats jumped out to an early lead.
Nico Appendino, playing his seventh game with Bismarck, notched his first goal with the Bobcats, scoring on a floater through traffic to give the hosts a 1-0 lead at 3:34 of the first period.
“I don’t even know how it went it I don’t know if there was traffic. I don’t think the goaltender saw it either,” Sedevie said. ‘It felt like our defense did a really nice job of getting pucks through tonight. It’s something we’ve struggled on, but they did a nice job. Obviously you don’t get that many shots without getting pucks through.”
Seven minutes later, the Bobcats made it a two-goal advantage as Adam Stacho cashed in off a nice feed from Tim Piechowski. Stacho’s 10th goal of the season made it 2-0 Bismarck at 10:56 of the first.
The Bobcats had plenty of chances to add to the lead, but hit the post several times and Bruins goaltender Kyle McClellan came up with several big stops. McClellan finished with 40 saves.
Austin evened it up in the second, scoring twice off untimely Bobcats turnovers.
Dante Zapata got the Bruins on the board, grabbing a loose puck and walking in on John Roberts, beating the Bobcat netminder on a backhand at 6:33.
Ben Almquist notched the equalizer at 17:51 off an assist by Reginald Millette.
“I liked our game all the way through but you’ve got to manage the puck,” Sedevie said. “You can’t turn pucks over at any level because they’ll end up in the back of your net.”
The Bobcats outshot the Bruins 42-23 over 60 minutes of regulation and five minutes of 3-on-3 overtime.
Stacho had a golden opportunity to win it late in regulation but shot high over the net with just over a minute remaining.
“I tell you what, we’ve been playing some good hockey lately. You can look at shots any way you want to but I think it’s pretty indicative of how hard we’re working.” Sedevie said.
“You know what, their goaltender made some big saves. Ours made some big saves. But I just like the way we’re working right now.”
Roberts, who finished with 21 saves, stopped Austin twice in the shootout, robbing Jared Christy on the first shot of the session and sealing the win by stoning Kyle Herbster.
Bismarck got the victory – and the extra point in the NAHL standings – when Sam Malinski and Stacho each scored on the Bobcats’ first two attempts.
Austin (23-13-6) remains in second place in the Central Division by one point over Minot. The Bobcats improved to 22-18-1 and moved to within one point of the Minnesota Wilderness for the fourth playoff spot in the division.
The two teams square off again tonight at the VFW Sports Center.