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WEEKEND PREVIEW: Bruins begin 2nd half, end 2015 hosting Chill

Photo courtesy of Boesen Photography

Although there will have been 12 days between the two games, the New Year’s Eve battle between the Bruins and Coulee Region Chill will be the 2nd consecutive head to head game for both teams. It is also the 5th time the two squads will be seeing each other since November 6th, with three more games to come – all before the middle of February. The Bruins are healthier, the Chill have some new faces. It’s the only game of the long weekend and here’s the preview.

 

 

WHAT TO WATCH FOR –

New kid on the top: With a goal and two assists in the Bruins’ 4-2 win at Coulee on December 19th, Dawson DiPietro is now the B’s points leader. His linemates Jade Miller and Gilbert Gabor have led the charge for much of the season, but the former Chill player finds himself with 27 points (9 goals, 18 assists) atop the Austin stat sheet. He has 7 points in his last four games (2 goals, 5 assists) and also leads all Bruins in points against his former Coulee club. (2 goals and 3 assists)

Trade winds blowing: In a somewhat surprising move, the Chill traded leading scorer Michael Wilson to the Minnesota Magicians on Tuesday for three forwards. Wilson had 21 points (10 goals, 11 assists) in 26 games for Coulee. The Chill get Alex Lambacher, Kevin Dineen, and Larry Jungwirth coming their way in the deal. Lambacher and Jungwirth both immediately jump into the top 4 on the Chill scoring ranks. Dineen has USHL experience, playing 33 games for Muskegon last season.

Fresh bodies: With the much needed holiday break came a chance for the Bruins to replenish their roster, which had been multiple forwards short for several weeks. Miha Zajc returns from the U20 Championships in France where he had been representing Slovenia. AJ Drobot, Austin Rueschhoff, Travis Kothenbeutel and Jacob Paganelli, who all recently missed time with injuries or illness – all have a chance at playing on Thursday. On defense, Paul O’Connor is back from a four game stint with the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers. Forward Luke Forfar remains out with a lower body injury.

Clutch Chill: Despite coming into Thursday’s action 7 games below .500, the Chill are 4-0 in games going beyond regulation.  Their 2-0 overtime record combined with a 2-0 shootout mark makes them one of only two NAHL teams with a perfect extra-time resume. (Aston is the other) Most recently, the Chill defeated the Magicians in a shootout by a 2-1 final score on Friday, December 18th.

Killin’ it: The Bruins penalty kill has been on an incredible run, and is now 4th overall in the NAHL at 86.5%. The Bruins had killed 27 consecutive penalties coming into their last game (December 19th) and were 4 for their first 4 before finally surrendering a powerplay goal to Coulee’s Steven Quagliata at 6:27 of the third period. Overall, they’ve killed off 52 of their last 54 times shorthanded in a 7 game span dating back to their 4-1 win at Coulee on November 25th.

 

THE MATCHUP –

Central Division Standings:

TEAM

GP

W

L

OTL

PTS

Austin

30

17

12

1

35

Minot

30

16

11

3

35

Brookings

29

14

12

3

31

MN Magicians

29

13

12

4

30

Bismarck

27

14

12

1

29

Aberdeen

27

9

14

4

22

 

Midwest Division Standings:

TEAM

GP

W

L

OTL

PTS

Fairbanks

30

23

4

3

49

MN Wilderness

30

19

8

3

41

Springfield

29

16

9

4

36

Janesville

26

16

8

2

34

Coulee Region

27

10

17

0

20

Kenai River

30

1

28

1

3

 

2015-16 Austin vs. Coulee Region head to head (Bruins lead 3-1-0)
click date for game story

11/06/15 Coulee 6 at Austin 2
11/07/15 Austin 3 at Coulee Region 1
11/25/15 Austin 4 at Coulee Region 1
12/19/15 Austin 4 at Coulee Region 2
12/31/15 @ Austin – 7:05 PM
01/22/16 @ Austin – 7:05 PM

HOW TO FOLLOW THE GAMES –

The puck drops from Riverside Arena on Thursday at 7:05 PM CT. Tickets can be pre-purchased at HyVee, Jim’s Marketplace, Games People Play, and the Holiday Inn for $4 off the door price – $11 for adults and $8 for students and seniors (65+). New Year’s Eve prizes will be raffled off throughout the night and the first 250 fans through the gate will receive free glow sticks. Fans can watch live streaming video on FASTHockey.com and intermission updates will be posted on Facebook as well as @theaustinbruins on Twitter. The game will also be available via radio on AM 1480 KAUS and streaming online at myaustinminnesota.com.