By Joel Badzinski | LaCrosse Tribune | Friday, February 18, 2011
ONALASKA — The Coulee Region Chill finally generated some real offense against the Bismarck Bobcats on Friday night.
But in the end, the Chill felt more frustrated than satisfied after Bismarck pulled out a 4-3 overtime shootout win in front of 598 at the OmniCenter.
The Bobcats used the two points to take over first place in the NAHL Central Division, with Coulee Region and Owatonna one point behind.
Coulee Region has 12 games left in the regular season, including its next three straight against Bismarck.
“At least we get to walk away with one point, which is a big deal,” Chill forward Zac Frischmon said.
Bismarck won the shootout when Castan Sommer and Charles Aus scored in the sixth and seventh rounds, sandwiched around a Chill goal by Berkley Scott. Coulee Region’s Connor Gaarder had a chance to extend it but fired over Ryan Faragher’s glove.
Coulee Region could at least skate away knowing they’d figured some things out against Bismarck. The Bobcats had allowed just three goals in three games against the Chill, including a shutout on Jan. 23.
“That is a team that’s by far the stingiest in our division,” Chill coach Garrett Strot said. “Anytime you get three or four goals is good, and we’ve got to continue doing that.”
After David Ripple scored a power-play goal at 9:29 of the first period to give Coulee Region a 1-0 lead, Bismarck scored two unanswered goals, by John Furgele and Sommer, and the Chill had to play catch-up the rest of the game.
Frischmon tied it with his team-leading 26th goal at 10:04 of the second. Bismarck took the lead back when a puck dribbled through traffic in front of Aaron Davis (42 saves) early in the third period. Tyler Richter was credited with the goal.
Ripple scored his second of the game and 19th of the season on a redirect with Coulee Region on a power play. They finished 2-for-3 with the man advantage.
“Tonight was a big breakthrough,” Frischmon said. “The last time we played them, we lost 4-0. We practiced all week on how we were going to counter their style of play and that was a huge difference-maker. Now we know we’re able to get the puck in their zone.”
Faragher (36 saves) improved to 3-1 against the Chill, who forced several shots wide or high in the shootout.
“Guys made some nice moves but just didn’t get it up over his pads,” Strot said. “He’s awful quick.”