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WEEKEND PREVIEW: Wings of Change

The Bruins couldn’t come up with a point despite two hard fought one-goal games in Minot against the first place Minotauros last weekend, and now face a difficult road over their final twelve games to squeeze into the postseason. If it’s going to happen, it will have to start Friday and Saturday in Aberdeen against a Wings team who currently holds the spot that the Bruins seek – a seven-point edge for fourth in the Central. Each game is good for four points on the “magic number” scale and will almost certainly decide whether or not the final ten games will hold playoff implications.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR –

No Ploszaj: The Bruins will get the luxury of facing a backup goaltender this weekend after starting netminder Forbes Ploszaj was suspended three games for a spearing incident in last Friday’s contest against Bismarck. Ploszaj has been a rock for the Wings since coming on board in late November, ranking 10th in the NAHL in goals-against average (2.49) and possessing 15 of the Wings 23 wins.

Fitz the Tantrum: Aberdeen’s leading scorer Kevin Fitzgerald leads all opposing skaters in points against the Bruins this season with ten in six head-to-head meetings. The Illinois born forward has six goals and four assists in games against Austin, with two contests left. The trend isn’t anything new as he registered 5 goals and 3 assists in 12 games last season against the B’s.

Looft Lift: A surprising early exit from the Sectional Playoffs for Mankato West brings defenseman Kyle Looft back into the fold on the Bruins D-core. The 6’3, 185-pound blue-liner had a memorable NAHL debut, scoring the game winning goal on November 4th in a 5-2 victory over Bismarck. The Bruins signed him to a tender later that month. Looft will wear #7.

The Big 5-0: Justin Misiak’s next point gets him to the 50 plateau, a place where only two other NAHL players currently reside – Amarillo’s George Mika and Shreveport’s Frankie Melton. Two Bruins – Gilbert Gabor (56 points) and Jade Miller (51) reached the achievement last season. Travis Kothenbeutel currently sits at 43 after a three-point weekend in Minot.

THE MATCHUP –

Central Division Standings:

TEAM GP W L OTL PTS
Minot 49 31 14 4 66
MN Wilderness 48 26 16 6 58
Brookings 47 24 19 4 52
Aberdeen 48 23 20 4 50
Bismarck 48 22 24 2 46
Austin 48 19 24 5 43

 

2016-17 Austin vs. Aberdeen head to head (Wings lead 4-2-0)
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 Austin 4 at Aberdeen 2
02/03/17 Aberdeen 3 at Austin 2/SO
02/04/17 Aberdeen 5 at Austin 2
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
3/3/17 7:15 Aberdeen Wings Odde Ice Center Hoot & Ole’s HockeyTV (AWAY) NONE
3/4/17 7:15 Aberdeen Wings Odde Ice Center Hoot & Ole’s HockeyTV (AWAY) NONE

The puck drops at 7:15 at Odde Ice Center on Friday and Saturday night. Fans are encouraged to watch the games live 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.