AUSTIN, MN – Andy Willis scored his first two goals as an Austin Bruin while the B’s went 8 for 8 on the penalty kill for their first victory of the Steve Howard era. 4-1 was the final on Saturday night at Riverside Arena.
For the sixth game in a row, the Bruins would score first. In the midst of their fourth penalty kill of the first period, Evan Cholak cut off a pass and lifted a puck down toward Brookings netminder Benjamin Beck. Beck vacated his crease and tried to play the puck up the middle but hit Cholak’s body and Cholak guided the puck into an empty net for his second goal of the season, unassisted. Just under two minutes later, Andy Willis cashed a nice feed from Dante Zapata and snuck a puck under Beck’s pad to make it 2-0. On the goal, newly added Alex Mella registered his first NAHL assist.
At 8:21 of the second period, the Blizzard got on the board when Griffen Sanom rushed up the left wing and wristed a shot past Bruins goaltender Mads Sogaard. It would be Sogaard’s only blemish of the night. Willis answered at 16:14 with a powerplay goal, a wrist shot from the left wing circle through a screen set up by Sviatoslav Kuchynski. Travis Kothenbeutel and Lane Krenzen picked up assists. The Bruins led 3-1 after two.
Austin put the game away at 12:01 of the third period on Xander Lamppa’s first NAHL goal. Lamppa tried to hit Garrett Dahm, driving the net but got a break when Beck misread the pass and let the puck slide across the goal line. Jaden Shields had the only assist. Sogaard made 27 saves on 28 shots for his first win, while Beck stopped 19 of 23 in the loss.
The Bruins have another quick turnaround with their second straight Wednesday game – in Cloquet against the Wilderness at 7:05. Fans are encouraged to watch the game at The Bakery Lounge – the official home of Bruins away games. The B’s return home on Friday and Saturday night to host Aberdeen at 7:05.