Photo credit: Aberdeen News
ABERDEEN, SD – Appearing down and out – trailing 3-0 with only ten shots on the board through two periods – the Austin Bruins stormed back with an improbably third period comeback on Friday night at Odde Ice Center to get a 5-3 win over the Aberdeen Wings and pick up two crucial points in the Central Division standings.
The Wings outshot the Bruins 14-3 in the first and scored twice for a 2-0 lead. Riley Murphy got the scoring started at 7:50 when a 2-on-1 developed in front and Murphy wristed a shot past Bruins goaltender Jake Kucharski for his seventh goal of the season. At 9:36, Carter Roo took a drop pass from a streaking Tyler Bossert and doubled the lead which held into the first intermission.
At 8:35 of the 2nd, Roo would score again, this time on a one-timer from the high slot, set up once more by Bossert. The Wings led 3-0 heading into the third.
The comeback began early as Michael Piehler led a 3-on-1 and drilled home his 11th goal at 3:59 to break the shutout bid of Wings netminder Arttu Kulmala. After failing to convert on a 5-on-3, Jan Stefka struck at 8:52, burying a rebound off an initial shot block. Jaden Shields had an assist on both goals. Just 36 seconds later, AJ Drobot got the score even when his long range wrister fooled Kulmala from just inside the blue line. Kyle Looft picked up his first NAHL assist on the goal. It was only 30 seconds after that that Cole Lawrence gave the Bruins their first lead, taking a pass from Justin Misiak out of the corner and beating Kulmala stick side. From there on, the Bruins had to kill two penalties and got some big saves from Kucharski until captain Travis Kothenbeutel scored an empty netter, his 20th goal of the season at 19:54 to seal it.
The win boosted the Bruins back within a point of fifth and five points of fourth place – the final playoff spot currently held by the Wings. The two teams will finish the regular season series at 7:15 on Saturday night. The game will be broadcast live on HockeyTV (AWAY Audio) beginning at 7:05 and fans are encouraged to visit Hoot & Ole’s Tavern – the official home of Bruins away games for a viewing party.