Bismarck Bobcats goalie Andrew Miller didn’t get a lot of offensive support against the St. Cloud Blizzard Saturday night at the VFW Sport Center, but he didn’t need a lot.
Miller made 24 saves and Grant Johnson and Will Hillman scored goals to lead the Bobcats to a 2-0 North American Hockey League win over the Blizzard.
Miller made nine saves in the first period while waiting for his team’s offense to make something happen.
“No win is a bad win,” Bismarck coach Layne Sedevie said. But Sedevie wasn’t happy with the Bobcats’ early play – with the exception of Miller.
“There’s a lot of stuff we have to work on. Our starts have been … awful to be honest,” Sedevie said. “That’s something we have to work on. Last night we were down 2-0 right away and tonight our goaltender bailed us out.”
Miller’s counterpart, Britt League, was equally impressive. He made 41 saves and had little chance on the two Bobcat goals.
Johnson’s third goal of the season at 18:43 of the second period broke a scoreless tie and Hillman netted an insurance goal with a Johnson assist in the third period.
Miller and the Bobcat special team that killed all six power plays made it stand up.
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On Friday, the Bobcats got goals from five different players in a 5-1 win over the Blizzard. That didn’t seem to faze the Blizzard as they set the pace in the first period.
Only two clutch saves by Miller and a pipe shot kept the game scoreless after one period.
With 7:14 to play, Notre Dame commit Brady Bjork split the Bobcats defense and skated in where he was stopped cold by Miller. Two minutes later, Owen Belisle rang a shot off the goal and with 37 seconds left, Miller made a glove save on Luke Aquaro’s breakaway.
Miller had nine saves and St. Cloud goalie Britt League eight in the first period.
“You have to take it as they are going to come out angry and wanting to prove themselves, especially after five goals. You just have to stay confident because you never know what to expect.”
League sparkled through the second period, until Johnson followed up a shot by Sam Martel that went wide, hit the boards and bounced right back to him coming down the slot with just 1:17 left in the period. League, who had made several clutch saves in the period, had no chance.
Bismarck outshot the Blizzard 18-6 in the second period and 17-9 in the third.
“We started to move the puck. We didn’t have guys trying to beat everybody one-on-one,” Sedevie said. “When we move the puck, we’re a good hockey team. We were just fighting it for a long time this weekend.”
Bismarck nearly added a third goal, only to have League make a sprawling save in the closing minutes. League had left the net for the bench when the Blizzard gained control of the puck. But Austin Schwartz stole the puck at center ice and skated in. League saw that and dashed back to the net, diving to make the stop and keep it a two-goal goal.