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How Swede it is! Off to the Finals

by John Peterson

 

Only five players from last year’s Austin Bruins team that beat Topeka in overtime of Game 3 of the national semifinals were present for Sunday’s repeat in N. Richland Hills, Texas. One of those veterans, Alex Pettersson (Ockero, Sweden), provided the heroics this time, as he wired a shot into the net at 7:09 of overtime to send the Bruins past the Lone Star Brahmas and into the Robertson Cup Finals again.

The Brahmas scored the game’s first goal on a line change at 7:56 of the first period, when Roman Uchyn (Chicago, IL) received a head-man pass and skated in on a breakaway from the right wing. Uchyn lifted a shot over the glove of Bruins goalie Evan Smith (Parker, CO) for his third goal of the weekend.

Austin dominated the puck possession battle in the second period, and outshot Lone Star 13-5. While on the power play, Cory Dunn (Trenton, MI) stepped up and whistled a wrist shot into the top shelf past Jake Kupsky (Waukesha, WI) to tie the game. Shortly thereafter, Ludvig Larsson (Malmo, Sweden) pulled the puck out of a boards battle and beat Smith with a shot from the right circle to give Lone Star the 2-1 lead.

But for the second time in the period, Brahmas captain Sebastian Vidmar (Malmo, Sweden) was called for a penalty, and Ian Scheid (Coon Rapids, MN) fed a cross-crease pass to Trevor Boyd (Muskegon, MI), who tapped in Austin’s second power play goal of the period to tie the game going into the third.

A tense third period went by with no scoring, and the two teams skated to overtime. The Brahmas nearly won it when Pat Egan (Rochester, NY) hopped over the bench and caught a stretch pass leading him in on a breakaway. With the series on his stick, Egan was robbed on the forehand by the right pad of Smith. Then the heroics. Nico Sturm (Augsburg, Germany) provided zone entry ducking under a check on the right wing wall. Sturm slid the pass over to Pettersson high in the slot, and the Swede ripped it over the glove of Kupsky to win it 3-2.

Smith stopped 21 Brahmas shots, but none bigger than the one on Egan in overtime, while Kupsky made 34 in the loss.

For the second straight season, the Bruins are in the Robertson Cup Finals. Last year, Austin was defeated two games to none up in Alaska by the Fairbanks Ice Dogs. This year, it’s a different Midwest Division opponent, the Minnesota Wilderness, who swept the top-seeded Janesville Jets. The Finals will be in Austin next weekend at Riverside Arena (dates and times TBD). Ticket information will become available as early as tomorrow, and both games will also be broadcasted on fasthockey.com and 1480AM KAUS.