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WEEKEND PREVIEW: South Dakota Swing

The Bruins waved good-bye to 2016 on a positive note with a home-and-home sweep of the Minnesota Wilderness: two games in which they came from behind, erasing a 2-0 deficit after one period each night to come back and win. As a result, the Bruins picked up four big points in the standings and moved within a point of third and three points of second as they travel to South Dakota in search of their first three game winning streak of the season.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR –

Comeback Kids: Trailing 2-0 after the first period in both games against the Wilderness, the Bruins rallied back each night to capture 5-4 (OT) and 4-3 wins against their in-state rivals from Cloquet. The Bruins have won a league high six games when trailing after one period, but continue to struggle mightily in first periods, scoring just 17 goals, while allowing 36.

Going Streaking?: It’s hard to believe, but the Bruins, who would be in the playoffs if the season ended today, still have not won more than two consecutive games this season. They’ve won back-to-back games five times, and had a point streak of six games in November, but a win on Friday would get that elusive third straight for the first time. Conversely, the four-game skid to end the first half, was the first of more than three in a row in the loss column (and the only three-gamer included an OT loss).

Drobot Rolling: AJ Drobot has scored a goal in three games in a row and has come up clutch for the Bruins ever since his brief stint in the USHL. His game winner on Friday came with just under a minute remaining in overtime before he came up with the goal that tied Saturday’s game in the latter half of the third period.

Surging Wings: After spending most of the first half in the basement of the Central Division, Aberdeen has pick up its play of late, getting points in 7 of 10 games, including a home-and-home sweep of Brookings last weekend. Their recent success can be traced to their netminder Forbes Ploszaj, who made a total of 57 saves on 62 shots to earn Central Division First Star of the Week.

Boyko’s Blizzard: Speaking of goaltending, Josh Boyko of the Brookings Blizzard has shored up the net for a team that had major issues in that department a season ago. Boyko’s logged 1467 minutes, 2nd most in the NAHL, while winning 14 games (also T-2nd) and pitching three shutouts (you guessed it, tied for 2nd most). He’s started all five games between the Bruins and Blizzard this season, winning three.

THE MATCHUPS –

Central Division Standings:

TEAM GP W L OTL PTS
Minot 32 21 8 3 45
Brookings 31 17 11 3 37
MN Wilderness 32 16 13 3 35
Austin 32 15 13 4 34
Aberdeen 30 13 14 3 29
Bismarck 31 13 17 1 27

2016-17 Bruins vs. Brookings Head to Head (Blizzard lead 2-2-1)
click date for game story

10/7/16 Austin 3 at Brookings 0
11/13/16 Austin 2 at Brookings 3/SO
12/09/16 Brookings 2 at Austin 4
12/10/16 Austin 2 at Brookings 5
12/14/16 Brookings 3 at Austin 2
01/06/17 @ Brookings – 7:05 PM
02/17/17 @ Austin – 7:05 PM
02/18/17 @ Austin – 7:05 PM

2016-17 Austin vs. Aberdeen head to head (Wings lead 2-1-0)
click date for game story

10/08/16 Austin 2 at Aberdeen 5
12/02/16 Aberdeen 4 at Austin 6

12/03/16 Aberdeen 6 at Austin 2
01/07/17 @ Aberdeen – 7:15 PM
02/03/17 @ Austin – 7:05 PM
02/04/17 @ Austin – 7:05 PM
03/03/17 @ Aberdeen – 7:15 PM
03/04/17 @ Aberdeen – 7:15 PM

HOW TO FOLLOW THE GAMES –

Date Time Opponent Venue Viewing Party TV Radio
1/6/17 7:05 Brookings Larson Ice Center Hoot & Ole’s (105 11th St SE) HockeyTV (AWAY) NONE
1/7/17 7:15 Aberdeen Odde Ice Center Hoot & Ole’s (105 11th St SE) HockeyTV (AWAY) AM 1480 KAUS

All broadcasts begin ten minutes prior to puck drop