A seven-month gauntlet that began in September has reached it’s final fraction with just 10 games remaining through the 8th of April. The Bruins know that their work is cut out for them in terms of a postseason run and that it will require a stretch of winning hockey that they’ve been unable to achieve all season long. Still, no Robertson Cup was ever earned easily, and the mathematical opportunity remains. This weekend pits the Bruins with the team they are immediately behind in the standings – the Bismarck Bobcats. It’s a much different looking ‘Cats team than the one they saw in December at VFW Sports Center, and one that will be fighting just as hard to catch that prized fourth place position.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR –
Pehrson of Interest: Similar to the Kyle Looft addition last week, the Bruins add more depth to their blue line with Keaton Pehrson joining the mix. Pehrson’s Lakeville North squad saw their season end in upset fashion by Lakeville South, allowing the Michigan Tech commit to get some NAHL time before season’s end. The ’98 birthyear had 4 goals in 25 assists in 25 games his Senior Year and also played two seasons on Team Northeast in the Upper Midwest Elite League.
Severi Goaltending Warning: The last time the Bruins saw the Bobcats, they were trying to decide if Will Ulrich or Camden Haugenoe were going to be the answer in net. They settled on neither and grabbed Severi Isokangas from Finland, and eleven games in the USHL with the Waterloo Blackhawks. Isokangas has stabilized the Bobcat crease, winning 8 of his 14 appearances and putting up a solid 2.71 goals-against average.
Bobcat Box Out: Bismarck’s power play unit has consistently ranked in the top five all season long and is currently fourth, at 23.3%. Veteran 96-born forward Tobias Fladeby has been a force with the man advantage this season, racking up 12 power play tallies, tying him for the NAHL lead. Overall, Fladeby is the Bobcats’ leading scorer with 50 points in 50 games and is the only one with at least 20 goals.
Quick Quinn: Quinn Martin has played strong as of late, with three assists in his last four games, his first three points as a Bruin. Martin’s hard work directly led to the Bruins only goal in Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Aberdeen when he forced a turnover behind the Wings net and fed Travis Kothenbeutel in the slot.
Home Sweet Home: It’s been a head-to-head series dominated by the home team dating back to last season, with a 18-3-0 record for the team defending its home ice. (including the five-game playoff series a year ago) The lone road win this season (in eight games) came by the Bobcats on October 15th, a tight 2-1 contest.
THE MATCHUP –
Central Division Standings:
2016-17 Head to Head (Bismarck leads 5-3-0)
click date for game story
09/30/16 Austin 4 at Bismarck 5
10/01/16 Austin 3 at Bismarck 4
10/14/16 Bismarck 1 at Austin 4
10/15/16 Bismarck 2 at Austin 1
11/04/16 Bismarck 2 at Austin 5
11/05/16 Bismarck 2 at Austin 5
12/16/16 Austin 1 at Bismarck 5
12/17/16 Austin 2 at Bismarck 4
03/10/17 @ Austin – 7:05 PM
03/11/17 @ Austin – 7:05 PM
04/07/17 @ Bismarck – 7:15 PM
04/08/17 @ Bismarck – 7:15 PM
HOW TO FOLLOW THE GAMES –
|3/10/17||7:05||Bismarck Bobcats||Riverside Arena||HockeyTV (HOME)||NONE|
|3/11/17||7:05||Bismarck Bobcats||Riverside Arena||HockeyTV (HOME)||NONE|
Doors open at 6:00 PM on Friday and Saturday night at Riverside Arena for a pair of 7:05 faceoffs. Saturday night is “QPP Night,” with $5 tickets for all Quality Pork Processor Employees. It’s also billet appreciation night with a pregame ceremony recognizing our billet families – who will enjoy the game in the Papa Murphy’s Bear Den. Girl Scout cookies will be sold once again each night. Fans can purchase discount tickets at Hy Vee, Jim’s Marketplace, Games People Play, and the Holiday Inn in Austin for $4 off the door price ($11 for adults and $8 for students and seniors).
For fans that can’t make it out, broadcast coverage will begin on HockeyTV ten minutes prior to puck drop each night, with the “HOME” feed carrying the Bruins broadcast.