BISMARCK, ND. – Dante Zapata scored two goals in under two minutes in the third period, but the Bruins couldn’t complete the comeback falling to the Bismarck Bobcats, 4-2.
In a game that was played with a playoff-type fervor, the Bruins and Bobcats battled throughout the first period without either team finding the back of the net. The Bruins outshot Bismarck in the opening frame 9-7.
It wasn’t very long into the second, only 46 seconds in to be exact when the scoreless tie was broken but unfortunately for the Bruins, it was Bismarck who tallied the first goal. Daniel Chladek rang a shot off the post that ricocheted into the net behind Kyle McClellan, giving the 1-0 lead to the home-team Bobcats. Later in the period, the Bobcats added to their lead with a bang-bang play off the stick of Tim Piechowski. As the team’s headed to the locker room following the second period, the pace of play would change in the third.
After tallying their third goal of the night and leading 3-0, the Bruins snapped awake. Jared Christy rifled a wrister off the glove hand of Bismarck netminder John Roberts creating a beautiful rebound for Dante Zapata. The third-year Bruin made no mistake and potted the puck in the back of the net. Now down 3-1, the Bruins and Zapata weren’t finished there. Less than two minutes later, the California-born forward would get the Bruins within one scoring his second goal of the night.
As time dwindled down and the Bruins prepared to pull the goaltender, a penalty to Ben Almquist made the comeback mountain a bit taller for the Bruins. With only 2:15 left to go in the game, Almquist was called for head-contact leaving the Bruins down a man. Despite being on the penalty-kill, Kyle McClellan raced to the bench allowing the Bruins to get a handful of chances on goal but couldn’t find the money. With the net vacant, Bismarck sealed the game with an empty-netter, doubling their lead to 4-2 and walking away from VFW Sports Center with two wins on the weekend over the Bruins.
With the loss, the Bruins fall to 30-19-0-6 on the season and sit in fourth place in the Central Division with five games left to play. For Bismarck, the win marks their sixteenth straight game with a point and their fourth straight win. The Bobcats record improves to 32-18-3-2.
Up next for the Bruins, they turn their attention to an upcoming road trip which includes three games in three nights against two opponents before returning home for the final weekend of the regular season. Up first it’s the conclusion of the season series with the Brookings Blizzard on Thursday, March 28 followed by back-to-back games against the Aberdeen Wings on March 29 and 30. After the three games in three days, the Bruins return to Riverside Arena for Fan Appreciation weekend on April 4 and 5 to finish out the regular season. Tickets for the final home games of the regular season against the Bismarck Bobcats go on sale Monday, April 1 at all the Bruins vendors including Games People Play, Hy-Vee, Holiday Inn, and Jim’s Marketplace.