Bismarck Bobcats vs Aberdeen Wings. The central division championship is set. A match up that some people would compare to David vs Goliath.
“Our mentality is kind of to take down Goliath if that makes sense to anybody,” forward Austin Schwartz said.
The Wings are overwhelming favorites going into the series after winning an NAHL record 51 games in the regular season, but the Bobcats have earned a chance to knock them off their thrown.
“In the playoffs anything can happen,” head coach Layne Sedevie said. “You make the playoffs, you got a chance, and that’s all that anybody can really ask for.”
The Bobcats gave themselves an early upper hand with a three game sweep in the first round, while the Wings needed five games to escape round one. That gave the Bobcats much needed rest to a team that has been playing since October.
“I think we also have an advantage because Aberdeen hasn’t faced a lot of adversity this season,” Schwartz said. “With their success the most adversity they’ve faced is against Minot, so we’re used to it. We’re built for this playoff hockey, and we’re just looking forward to it.”
Adversity has come in bunches for the Bobcats against the Wings this season. They’ve been outscored 52 to 13 in twelve matchups this year. The Bobcats lost 11 of those 12 games.
“Towards the end of the year we were playing them really well, close games, and we got a win against them, so that’s the confidence we needed,” defenseman Tommy Bergsland said.
The Bobcats’ focus this week is on staying sharp defensively. They believe the lower the score, the better chance they have at an upset.
“Taking care of our D-Zone,” Schwartz explained. “Tracking back, working the full 200 foot ice and making sure that we’re taking care of Korpi or whoever is in net. That’s our job right now, and the rest will take care of itself.”
The Bobcats are only guaranteed one home game in the central division championship, so taking care of business on the road will be crucial to keeping their season alive.
“The big thing is you’ve got to win on the road in the playoffs,” Sedevie said. “You’ve got to win on the road, to me, all year too and that’s what proves good teams. You know, you really got to go down there and get one, you get two it’s a bonus.”
Game one of the Central Division Championship is set for Friday night in Aberdeen.