Smirnov Carries Cats To Thrilling 4-3 OT Victory

by Brett Wiseman


Savva Smirnov's best game as a pro propelled the Blue Ridge Bobcats to a much-needed thrilling 4-3 overtime victory over the Baton Rouge Zydeco on Saturday.

Blue Ridge jumped on Baton Rouge right out of the gate, blistering Zydeco goaltender Greg Hussey with 10 shots before his team got one of their own. The Bobcats held the Zydeco shotless through the first 8 minutes and 18 seconds of the opening frame.

Blue Ridge struck first blood at 9:19 of the first on a wild sequence. A wrist shot from Justin Daly leaked through the five-hole of Hussey, but was swept off the top of the goal line before completely crossing. Danny Martin retrieved the loose puck, and found Kona Jackson, who unleashed a slap shot towards the net. Cody Oakes redirected the shot off both goalposts, and the puck ricocheted behind Hussey and across the line for Oakes' first goal as Bobcats captain. 

The Zydeco answered with three quick goals in the second period. Blue Ridge would not be denied in the third. 

Smirnov's first professional goal, a snipe that beat Hussey up high, got things rolling just 58 seconds into the final frame of regulation.

Jakub Volf stuck home the game tying goal at 18:36 of regulation, his third of the weekend. Smirnov won it at 4:16 of the extra frame, going forehand, backhand top shelf on a breakaway on Hussey.

Connor Green was stalwart in goal in relief of Christian Pavlas, stopping all 14 shots he faced in the third period and overtime. Danny Martin's 3 assists earned him third star honors on the night. Smirnovn was the game's first star.

The two teams will meet again in Baton Rouge on Friday night. Puck drop is set for 8:30 ET (7:30 CT), and the game can be seen on the Bobcats YouTube channel.