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WEEKEND PREVIEW: Series with Bobcats Continues

Photo courtesy: Don Boesen, Boesen Photography

The Bruins and Bobcats are well acquainted with one another after two hard-fought games at V.F.W. Sports Center in Bismarck last weekend. The ‘Cats claimed a 6-4 win on Friday before the Bruins earned the split with a 3-2 victory on Saturday night. With the Bobcats having taken 3 of the 4 in their building, the season series now shifts to Riverside Arena beginning with a pair this weekend. The Bruins will play 6 of their next 7 games on home ice overall. Here’s your weekend preview with Bismarck… again.

 

 

WHAT TO WATCH FOR –

Gabor’s Hot Streak: Not even a three game suspension could cool down Gilbert Gabor’s stick. He made his triumphant return to the lineup last weekend scoring a goal in each game, including the game winner on Saturday night. Since October 3rd, Gabor has at least a point in all but one game he’s appeared in – and that was the game in which he was ejected in the second period. (October 31st at Minot)

Bismarck shot totals: The Bobcats put a jaw-dropping 51 shots on net in their 6-4 win over the Bruins last Friday. In the four games against Austin this season, they’re averaging over 34 shots per game, slightly above their season average of 31.18. Although they outshot the Bruins 35-24 in their loss on Saturday, 16 of those shots came in a 2nd period in which they had five powerplay chances.

Scoring First: The Bruins have gotten off to good starts in recent games, scoring the first goal in 8 of their last 9 overall. They are 6-2-0 in those 8 games – the two losses coming at the Minnesota Magicians on November 5th and a Bismarck last Friday. When scoring first on the season as a whole, the Bruins are 9-3-1.

Shepard guiding the way: Bobcats goaltender Hunter Shepard has all 8 of Bismarck’s wins, posting a 2.08 goals against average (8th best in the NAHL) and a .921 save percentage along the way. Backup David Fessenden is 0-3-0 with a 3.36, including Saturday night’s loss to the Bruins. Expect Shepard to start both games this weekend.

 

THE MATCHUP –

Central Division Standings:

TEAM

GP

W

L

OTL

PTS

Minot

19

12

5

2

26

Austin

21

11

9

1

23

Brookings

18

9

8

1

19

MN Magicians

20

7

10

3

18

Bismarck

17

8

9

0

16

Aberdeen

17

6

8

3

15

 

2015-16 Head to head (Bismarck leads 3-1):

09/18/15 Austin 3 at Bismarck 6
09/19/15 Austin 0 at Bismarck 3
11/13/15 Austin 4 at Bismarck 6
11/14/15 Austin 3 at Bismarck 2
11/20/15 @ Austin – 7:05 PM
11/21/15 @ Austin – 7:05 PM
03/11/16 @ Austin – 7:05 PM
03/12/16 @ Austin – 7:05 PM

 

HOW TO FOLLOW THE GAMES –

The puck drops on Friday and Saturday night from Riverside Arena at 7:05 Central Time. Gates open at 6:00 each night. Friday night is the Salvation Army’s Kettle Kickoff Event. Tickets can be pre-purchased at HyVee, Jim’s Marketplace, Games People Play, and the Holiday Inn for $4 off the door price – $11 for adults and $8 for students and seniors (65+). Fans can also watch the games on FASTHockey.com. Intermission updates will be posted via @theaustinbruins on Twitter.