The Minnesota Magicians took on the Central Division-leading Bismarck Bobcats in a two game home series last weekend at Richfield Ice Arena. After two tightly contested games, the Magicians came out of the weekend with just one out of four possible points in the standings, and remain on the outside looking in at the current playoff picture in the division.
This weekend, the Magicians will look to continue their run of recent success against the Austin Bruins. On Friday, they will travel to Riverside Arena for a road contest vs. the Bruins, and on Saturday the two teams will do battle at Richfield Ice Arena. Saturday's contest is also Military Appreciation Night at Richfield. Veterans and active members of the US Military will receive $5 tickets at the gate, and the Magicians will be wearing specialty camouflage jerseys in honor of those who have served our country.
The Bismarck Bobcats visited Richfield Ice Arena for the first time on Friday night. The visitors acclimated themselves quickly to the new environment with 2 powerplay goals in the first period of play to take a 2-0 lead into the first intermission. In the second, the Bobcats increased their lead with another powerplay goal to make it 3-0 at the midway point of the period. Meanwhile, they were able to keep the Magicians off the board once again and head into the third period with a commanding lead.
In the final period, the Magicians were able to capitalize on a powerplay opportunity of their own with just over 6-minutes remaining in the game. Mitch Slattery, making his return from an absence due to injury, got the goal assisted by Casey Jerry. A short time later, the Magicians were able to make things even more interesting with a goal by Jack Christensen to make the score 3-2. Jacob Gammicchia and Matt Sherman were credited with the assists. Unfortunately, the Magicians were unable to muster another goal in the waning minutes of the game, and Bismarck completed their successful debut at Richfield Ice Arena. Magicians goaltender Will Ulrich made 26 saves on 29 shots in taking the defeat.
On Saturday, the two teams rematched in front of the Richfield faithful. Once again, Bismarck was able to jump out to an early lead, scoring two goals late in the first period to make the game 2-0 heading into the first intermission. In the second period, Magicians forward Tyler Bump got the crowd back into the game with a goal assisted by Johnny Panvica and Mason Palmer to cut the Bobcat lead down to 2-1. In the third period, the Magicians were able to tie the game with Michael Wilson's unassisted goal, his first since returning from a broken wrist suffered in early January. The goal would be the last of regulation and the game headed into overtime.
In the extra session, the team's traded opportunities in the early going. Then, shortly after Magicians forward Mitch Slattery was robbed on a point-blank one-timer opportunity, Bismarck took advantage of a defensive breakdown to beat goaltender Will Ulrich and escape with a victory. Ulrich played well again for the Magicians, stopping 32 of 35 shots he faced during regulation and overtime.
Up next for the Magicians is a home & home weekend with the Austin Bruins. The Magicians will look to stay hot against the Bruins, who have yet to record a victory in Richfield this season. On Saturday night, the Magicians are also hosting Military Appreciation Night. For the game, the team will wear specially designed camouflage jerseys, which will be auctioned away to fans following the game.