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Stefka, Lawrence Lead Charge as Bruins Hold Off Wilderness

AUSTIN, MN – Jan Stefka scored two in the first and Cole Lawrence netted a pair in the second as the Bruins defeated the Minnesota Wilderness for the third time this season, 5-4 on Friday night at Riverside Arena.

Stefka gave the Bruins the early lead with his goal at 4:28 of the first, set up by Travis Kothenbeutel and Evan Cholak. His initial one-timer from the high slot got blocked, but Stefka ripped the second chance wrist-shot past the glove of Wilderness goaltender Trevor Micucci. The visitors got even on a goal by Michael Zuffante at 13:20, but Stefka would score a power play goal with 1:18 left in the period to restore the Austin lead. Toby Sengvongxay’s shot came into Stefka’s feet and Stefka pulled the puck to his forehand and tucked it behind Micucci for a 2-1 Bruins lead which they held after one period.

In the opening minute of the second, Cole Lawrence took a cross ice pass from Justin Misiak to convert on a 2-on-1 and make it 3-1 Bruins.  At 11:39, Lawrence got another, ripping a shot short-side on Micucci and ending his night. Austin lead 4-1 through two periods.

The Wilderness were on the comeback trail in the 3rd, getting a goal from Zach Mills early and another from Zuffante at 11:15. Travis Kothenbeutel scored his team-leading 16th goal, redirecting a Cholak shot at 16:15 to make it 5-3 Bruins. With 30 seconds to go, Minnesota’s Charlie Parker scored 6-on-5 with the goalie pulled, but 5-4 was as close as the Wilderness would get as the Bruins hung on.

Jake Kucharski made 27 saves for his 8th win. The Bruins go for the season series sweep of the Wilderness on Saturday night at Northwoods Credit Union Arena in Cloquet at 7:05. Fans are encouraged to watch the game at Hoot & Ole’s Tavern, with a chance to purchase Paint the Rink Pink Tickets, raffle tickets for Bruiser’s Pink Jersey, and win a pair of free tickets to next Saturday’s home game vs. Janesville.

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