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WEEKEND PREVIEW: Road Trip

After playing nine home games in six weeks’ time, the Bruins will hit the road for four straight starting Friday night. First up is the Central-leading Minot Minotauros, whom the Bruins have faced only twice this season – and that was back on October 28th and 29th at Riverside Arena. The ‘Tauros have a brand new facility – the “new” Maysa Arena – and will get very familiar with the Bruins through the end of the regular season, with six head-to-head battles to come between now and April 1st, including four in North Dakota.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR –

Now or Never: The Bruins fell six points out of a playoff spot after last weekend’s results. Additionally, they find themselves just one point up on last place Bismarck. While there is still time to make a playoff push, the Bruins margin for error has run extremely thin. With no games in hand and two more head-to-head battles, Aberdeen (currently 4th) seems like the team the Bruins are most likely to catch. The series on March 3rd and 4th at Odde Ice Center may very well be make or break.

Playoff Potential: It’s a well-known factoid that the Bruins have eliminated Minot from postseason play four years in a row now and it’s impossible for that not to be on Marty Murray’s mind, in this, his sixth season at the helm of the Minotauros. If the Bruins are able to squeak into the playoffs, the ‘Tauros will almost certainly be their opponent, and in the 1 vs. 4 matchups, they’d be major underdogs. Perhaps that’s just where the Bruins would want to be.

Murphy for O’Connor: The Bruins and ‘Tauros are never short on storylines, but It’s going to be a strange feeling for Jack Murphy returning to Minot as a visiting player and equally odd for Paul O’Connor to stare across the ice at his former Bruins teammates. Both big parts of their former clubs since 2015, each player will surely be out to prove to their old team that it was a mistake to let them go.

Top Prospects: On Monday and Tuesday at the USA Hockey Center in Plymouth, MI – the league’s best talent will be on display at the 2017 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament. The Bruins will send forwards Murphy, Travis Kothenbeutel, and Jon Richards – all representing the Central Division (coached by Marty Murray). Justin Misiak was initially selected, but due to his recent commitment to Michigan Tech, Murphy replaces him. The tournament will be made up of teams from each of the four NAHL divisions plus a U20 NAHL Selects squad and the USA NTDP U17 team. Coverage of the entire tournament will be broadcast live on HockeyTV.com, with voice of the Bruins Michael Keeley on the call along with Corpus Christi IceRays broadcaster Collin Schuck.

 THE MATCHUP –

Central Division Standings:

TEAM GP W L OTL PTS
Minot 47 29 14 4 62
MN Wilderness 46 24 16 6 54
Brookings 45 24 17 4 52
Aberdeen 46 23 20 3 49
Austin 46 19 22 5 43
Bismarck 46 20 24 2 42

 

2016-17 Bruins vs. Minot Head to Head (Minot leads 2-0-0)
click date for game story

10/28/16 Minot 7 at Austin 3
10/29/16 Minot 3 at Austin 2
02/24/17 @ Minot – 7:35 PM
02/25/17 @ Minot – 8:05 PM
03/17/17 @ Austin – 7:05 PM
03/18/17 @ Austin – 7:05 PM
03/31/17 @ Minot – 7:35 PM
04/01/17 @ Minot – 7:35 PM

HOW TO FOLLOW THE GAMES –

Date Time Opponent Venue Viewing Party TV Radio
2/24/17 7:35 Minot Minotauros Maysa Arena Hoot & Ole’s HockeyTV (AWAY) NONE
2/25/17 8:05 Minot Minotauros Maysa Arena Hoot & Ole’s HockeyTV (AWAY) AM 1480 KAUS

Note the irregular start times of 7:35 PM and 8:05 PM this weekend. Fans are encouraged to watch the games live (in HD) at Hoot & Ole’s Tavern, the official home of Bruins away games. Broadcast coverage will begin on HockeyTV ten minutes prior to puck drop each night, with the “AWAY” feed carrying the Bruins broadcast. Saturday’s game is also available on the radio at AM 1480 KAUS and myaustinminnesota.com.