Loading Scoreboard...
374097_small

WEEKEND PREVIEW: THREE GAMES IN THREE DAYS

Photo credit: Don Boesen, Boesen Photography

After three of the last four weekends without hockey, the Bruins enter the 2016 portion of their season in a hotly contested Central Division. Austin, Minot, and Bismarck enter the weekend in a three-way tie at the top, all with 35 points. Not only is the schedule filled with important games, it’s filled with a lot of games, period. The Bruins will have only two Saturdays (no Fridays) off until the season is over and the race to the finish begins with three games in three days at the end of this week into the weekend. Your weekend preview starts now:

WHAT TO WATCH FOR –

3 in 3: The B’s will travel to Cloquet to finish their regular season series with the Minnesota Wilderness on Thursday before heading home to host Aberdeen over the weekend. Including the NAHL Showcase, it will be the third week of three (or more) games for the Bruins this season, with one more to come (March 24th-26th). They went 3-1-0 at the Showcase, dropped two of three on November 5th-7th against the Magicians and Coulee Region, and then won two of three on the week of Thanksgiving, facing the Chill once and Minot twice.

Solving the Wilderness: The Bruins have come up empty in three battles with the Wilderness this year, but all three could have easily gone in their favor. An Evan Cholak goal in the 3rd period cut a 2-0 Wilderness lead in half in their first meeting on October 9th, before an answering goal by Tyler Cline and then an empty netter to bring the final to 4-1. The following night at Northwoods Credit Union Arena, the Bruins rallied back from down two goals twice, but were once again stung by Cline with a later powerplay goal for a 4-3 Wilderness win. Just three weeks ago in their most recent meeting, Jan Stefka’s goal in the final two minutes sent teddy bears flying, but the Bruins couldn’t climb out of the hole completely and lost, 2-1. Needless to say, the sour taste from the 2015 Robertson Cup Finals is still present.

Friday PK Battle: The Wilderness possess the top penalty kill in the NAHL, at 88.7%, but the Bruins might have the hottest unit at the moment, on an incredible streak, killing off 58 out of their last 60 times shorthanded. Overall, their percentage sits at 87% even, and has been better at home (89.4%) than on the road (84.5%). There were a combined 12 power play chances and 5 extra-man goals the last time the Bruins and Wilderness played in Cloquet on October 10th.

Earning their Wings: In stark contrast to the Wilderness series, the Bruins are 4-0-0 in their meetings with the Aberdeen Wings, whom they will host on Friday and Saturday night at Riverside. Late October’s sweep in Abereen was followed with decisive 3-0 and 5-1 wins on December 4th and 5th. Kris Carlson posted a 29 save shutout on the 4th, while Michael Piehler’s first two NAHL goals were of the powerplay variety. A shorthanded goal and a three point night by Dawson DiPietro was the story on the 5th. The Bruins play Aberdeen a season-high 12 times in 15-16.

 

THE MATCHUPS –

Central Division Standings:

TEAM

GP

W

L

OTL

PTS

Bismarck

30

17

12

1

35

Austin

31

17

13

1

35

Minot

33

16

14

3

35

Brookings

31

14

14

3

31

MN Magicians

31

13

14

4

30

Aberdeen

29

11

14

4

26

 

Midwest Division Standings:

TEAM

GP

W

L

OTL

PTS

Fairbanks

32

24

5

3

51

Springfield    

32

19

9

4

42

MN Wilderness

32

19

10

3

41

Janesville

29

18

9

2

38

Coulee Region

29

12

17

0

24

Kenai River

32

1

30

1

3

 

2015-16 Austin vs. MN Wilderness head to head (Wilderness lead 3-0-0)
click date for game story

10/09/15 MN Wilderness 4 at Austin 1
10/10/15 Austin 3 at MN Wilderness 4
12/18/15 MN Wilderness 2 at Austin 1 
01/07/16 @ MN Wilderness – 7:30 PM    

 

2015-16 Austin vs. Aberdeen head to head (Bruins lead 4-0-0)
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 @ Austin – 7:05 PM
01/09/16 @ Austin – 7:05 PM
02/19/16 @ Aberdeen – 7:15 PM
02/20/16 @ Aberdeen – 7:15 PM

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 –

It’s a 7:30 CT start time at Northwoods Credit Union Arena on Thursday night. Fans can watch live streaming video on FASTHockey.com (AWAY Feed) or at B&J Bar and Grill on 114 4th Ave NE in Austin. The game will also be available via radio on AM 1480 KAUS and streaming online at myaustinminnesota.com. The broadcast will begin at 7:20. Intermission updates will be posted on Facebook as well as @theaustinbruins on Twitter.

The puck drops from Riverside Arena on Friday and Saturday night 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+). Saturday night is also Boy Scout Night at Riverside, with free admission for all Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts in uniform (accompanied by a paid adult). Friday and Saturday’s game will be broadcast on FASTHockey.com (HOME Feed) only, with updates on Facebook and Twitter.