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WEEKEND PREVIEW: Spring Chill

Although they’re in different divisions, the Bruins and Coulee Region Chill have had a pretty intense rivalry over the last two seasons, one that has been tight and largely dominated by the road team. It’s been a series spread out over the course of the season evenly, with games in each month. They’ll play a home and home this weekend to wrap things up and write another chapter in their I-90 rivalry.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR –

Red Hot Chill: After appearing to fall out of the playoff race in December and January, Coulee Region has rattled off six in a row and eight of ten to jump over the Springfield Jr. Blues and into fourth place in the Midwest. It’s been an odd season for the Midwest Division as a whole, which saw the defending Robertson Cup Champion Fairbanks Ice Dogs start the season in fifth before eventually elevating into third. While Janesville has clinched the division, only nine points separate the Minnesota Magicians, Ice Dogs, and Chill in the next three spots.

D of the Future: Kyle Grabowski was quick to pair newcomer defensemen Kyle Looft (Mankato West) and Keaton Pehrson (Lakeville North) together on Saturday night and the duo worked well together, helping produce a pair of power play goals in the Bruins 4-3 shootout loss to Minot. Looft made an impressive diving glove-keep-in before Jan Stefka’s goal and both players got credit for assists on AJ Drobot’s goal less than a minute later. Looft is tendered for 2017-18, with Pehrson’s immediate future uncertain, considering his commitment to DI Michigan Tech.

Putting the O in Coulee: With 185 goals-for on the season, the Chill have had a potent offense all season, but it’s been especially magnified in recent games. Over their six-game winning streak, which dates back to March 4th, Coulee is averaging over six goals per game – aided by a 10-spot hung on Kenai River March 10th. They had a streak of three games between March 4th and March 11th, where they put up at least six in all three contests. Coulee’s goals-for per game is 3rd in the league at 3.63.

Down But Not Out: The Bruins rally from three goals down on Saturday night was nothing new – their third such comeback on the season. From down 3-0 on November 12th against the Chill, the Bruins took a 4-3 third period lead before ultimately losing 6-5 in OT. The memorable comeback in Aberdeen at the beginning of the month saw the B’s score five straight from down 3-0 entering the third. Saturday’s rally took place in a span of 3:34. While the Bruins hope to start games better, their ability to come back has been proven time after time.

THE MATCHUP –

Central Division Standings:

TEAM GP W L OTL PTS
Minot* 55 35 16 4 74
MN Wilderness 54 29 19 6 64
Brookings 53 27 21 5 59
Aberdeen 54 26 23 5 57
Bismarck 54 26 26 2 54
Austin 54 20 27 7 47

 

Midwest Division Standings (NOTE: Coulee plays 3/23):

TEAM GP W L OTL PTS
Janesville* 52 38 10 4 80
MN Magicians 54 29 20 5 63
Fairbanks 55 28 24 3 59
Coulee Region 51 26 23 2 54
Springfield 53 23 26 4 50
Kenai River 55 11 42 2 24

*clinched playoff spot

 

2016-17 Bruins vs. Chill Head to Head (Bruins lead 3-2-1)
click date for game story

10/22/16 Austin 5 at Coulee Region 2
11/12/16 Coulee Region 6/OT at Austin 5
12/08/16 Austin 5 at Coulee Region 3
01/14/16 Coulee Region 4 at Austin 1
02/10/17 Coulee Region 2 at Austin 6
02/11/17 Austin 1 at Coulee Region 5
03/24/17 @ Coulee Region – 7:00 PM
03/25/17 @ Austin – 7:05 PM

HOW TO FOLLOW THE GAMES –

Date Time Opponent Venue Viewing Party TV Radio
3/24/17 7:00 Coulee Region Chill Green Island Ice Arena Hoot & Ole’s HockeyTV (AWAY) AM 1480 KAUS
3/25/17 7:05 Coulee Region Chill Riverside Arena NONE HockeyTV (HOME) NONE

The puck drops at 7:00 on Friday night from Green Island Ice Arena in La Crosse – the Bruins final trip there this season. Broadcast coverage will begin on HockeyTV ten minutes prior to puck drop, with the “AWAY” feed carrying the Bruins broadcast. The game will also be available on the radio airwaves of AM 1480 KAUS and online at myaustinminnesota.com. Fans are encouraged to catch the game at Hoot & Ole’s Tavern – the official home of Bruins away games.

Saturday’s final regular season home game is Fan Appreciation Night, with a team poster giveaway for the first 250 fans in attendance, courtesy of ASA Auto Plaza. The first 500 fans through the door will also get a raffle ticket, good for special prizes that will be drawn throughout the night. Following the game will be a live auction of the Bruins regular season jerseys – one per player.

Fans can purchase discount general admission tickets at Hy Vee, Jim’s Marketplace, Games People Play, and the Holiday Inn in Austin for $4 off the door price ($11 for adults and $8 for students and seniors). The “HOME” feed will carry the Bruins broadcast on HockeyTV Saturday night.