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WEEKEND PREVIEW: Bruins try to clinch playoff spot with 3 in 3

Photo credit: Don Boesen, Boesen Photography

Although they lost their only game of the weekend, the Bruins magic number dropped to six points with the Minnesota Magicians loss to Minot on Saturday. With three games this weekend, the B’s have a chance to clinch without any help if they can win all of them. Even if they can’t, two of three could very well be enough to lock up a playoff berth. They’ll start the weekend early with a Thursday trip to Richfield to finish the season series with the Magicians, before traveling back to Aberdeen on Friday and Saturday. With seven games to go, here is your extended weekend preview.

 

WHAT TO WATCH FOR –

More Magic Needed: Despite the Magicians’ bottom-dwelling status for most of the year, the Bruins have had all kinds of trouble with them, winning only once in seven games. They’re also 0-3-0 at Richfield Ice Arena, most recently falling 2-1 on February 27th. The Bruins’ lone win in the season series came the night before, a 6-2 rout at Riverside. They also lost in OT at home on February 12th.

Goal Scoring Slump: Rightfully masked by two huge wins over Bismarck two weeks ago, the Bruins have had a lot of trouble scoring over their last six games. They’ve got only 10 goals in that span, with four of them coming in one game (4-3 win at Brookings on March 4th). The Bruins have scored only two regulation goals in the three games since.

Aberdeen Holding On: The Wings were swept last weekend, dropping their playoff cushion to just two points over the Magicians and three over Brookings. All three teams have six games remaining to battle for that fourth and final spot, with four of the Wings’ six coming against the Bruins. If there is a tie for points, the first tie-breaker is wins, followed by head-to-head points.

Koehn’s Return: After a run to the Minnesota State semifinals with his Grand Rapids Thunder Hawks, Jason Koehn has returned to the Bruins, reclaiming his status as an affiliate player, after signing a tender agreement in December. Koehn played with the B’s through early November with the Bruins, failing to register a point in nine games. He’s eligible to play in four more.

Early Deficit: The Bruins last trip to Aberdeen on February 19th and 20th was an interesting one. On Friday, they fell behind 3-0 before storming back on goals by Justin Misiak, Zach Kennedy, and Austin Rueschhoff. Despite the comeback, Matt Pulver would beat them in OT. The following night, Aberdeen again jumped out to an early trio of goals, but the Bruins only got 1/3 of the way back and lost, 4-1.

THE MATCHUPS –

Central Division Standings:

TEAM

GP

W

L

OTL

PTS

Bismarck

53

33

17

3

69

Minot

55

32

18

5

69

Austin

53

26

23

4

56

Aberdeen

54

20

24

11

51

MN Magicians

54

21

26

7

49

Brookings

54

21

27

6

48

 

2015-16 Austin vs. MN Magicians head to head (Magicians lead 6-1-0)
click date for game story

11/05/15 Austin 2 at MN Magicians 3 
01/29/16 MN Magicians 3 at Austin 0    
01/30/16 Austin 3 at MN Magicians 4  
02/12/16 Austin 2 at MN Magicians 3/OT
02/26/16 MN Magicians 2 at Austin 6
02/27/16 Austin 1 at MN Magicians 2
03/02/16 MN Magicians 3 at Austin 1
03/24/16 @ MN Magicians – 7:00 PM

 

2015-16 Austin vs. Aberdeen head to head (Bruins lead 6-1-1)
click date for game story

10/23/15 Austin 3 at Aberdeen 1
10/24/15 Austin 6 at Aberdeen 2
12/04/15 Aberdeen 0 at Austin 3
12/05/15 Aberdeen 1 at Austin 5
01/08/16 Aberdeen 2 at Austin 3/OT
01/09/16 Aberdeen 1 at Austin 4
02/19/16 Austin 3 at Aberdeen 4/OT
02/20/16 Austin 1 at Aberdeen 4
03/25/16 @ Aberdeen – 7:15 PM
03/26/16 @ Aberdeen – 7:15 PM
04/08/16 @ Austin – 7:05 PM
04/09/16 @ Austin – 7:05 PM

 

HOW TO FOLLOW THE GAMES –

The puck drops from Richfield Arena on Thursday night at 7:00 PM CT. The game will be broadcast with live streaming video and audio on FASTHockey.com, and audio only on AM 1480 KAUS in Austin as well as streaming online at myaustinminnesota.com. The broadcast begins at 6:50.

Friday and Saturday night faceoff times are 7:15 from Odde Ice Center in Aberdeen. Only Friday’s game will include radio broadcasts, with both games available on FASTHockey. Coverage will begin at 7:05.

Fans are encouraged to catch all three games at B&J Bar and Grill, located at 114 4th Ave NE in Austin – the official home of Bruins away games. Intermission updates for all games can be found on Facebook and Twitter (@theaustinbruins).

Season ticket packages are now on sale for the 2016-17 season. Click HERE for more information.