Minot 2 @ Bismarck 3 - Faced with a furious rally by the visiting Minot Minotauros, the Bismarck Bobcats captured a bit of magic in the final minute of regulation to secure a 3-2 win over the Tauros Thursday at the VFW Sports Center.
With the win, the Bobcats officially wrap up the first half of 2011-12 with a record of 24-5-1 and 49 points, both franchise records for the first half of the season.
After Minot’s Jadin Martin capped a rugged comeback by the Tauros to tie the game 2-2 with 1:54 left in regulation, the Bobcats created an up-ice rush that their top line would cash in.
Triggering the transition chance, Dan Zawacki made an entry feed to Adam Knochenmus, who proceeded to bury a low wrister past Minot goalie with 21 seconds left to boost the Cats to the 3-2 lead.
The Bobcats took control of the early stretch of the game on back-to-back goals in the first six minutes as Filip Starzynski redirected a Tyler Richter shot 3:35 into the game before Donald Olivieri cashed in a give-and-go with Cody Boyd for a 2-0 lead just 5:29 into the game.
Minot battled back to level with a second period strike by forward Denis Dalidovich that deflected off a Bobcat defender and in past goalie Tommy Burke before Martin made a redirect in the final two minutes of regulation to set the stage for Knochenmus’ heroics.
Hebda was saddled with his 15th loss of 2011-12 despite 31 saves, including 24 in the second and third periods. Burke picked up his 16th victory of the year—third-most among NAHL goalies—behind 21 saves.