AUSTIN, MN – With their second consecutive 6-3 victory over Bismarck, the Bruins wrapped up the regular season with their fourth win in a row and sealed first round home ice advantage in the Central Division playoffs. Finishing the season 33-19-4-4, the Bruins will be the #2 seed, hosting the #3 Minnesota Wilderness in a best of five series, starting Friday.
The Bruins jumped out to a big lead in the opening period, scoring twice in the first 3:15. At 1:24, Josef Mysak unleashed a shot through a maze of players that Ian Mageau redirected for his second goal of the season and NAHL career. Less than two minutes later, Che Landikusic found the five hole of Bismarck goaltender Kyle Johnson, making his NAHL debut. At the 14:59 mark, Jaden Shields ripped a shot off the wide side post and in to make it 3-0. Just over two minutes later, Andy Willis buried a power play goal to cap a four goal opening period. Bismarck got on the board shortly after the Willis goal when Alex Pollock deflected a Tanner Breidenbach shot and the Bruins led 4-1 after one.
The second period wasn’t nearly as eventful with Bismarck’s Jacob Marti scoring the only goal on a breakaway at 8:46. Bismarck made a goaltending change at the start of the period with Jacob Roberts entering the game for Johnson.
At 2:59 of the third, Chase Pilawski’s power play goal began to put the game away. Although former Bruin Andrew Bellant scored with four-and-a-half minutes to go, Pilawski added an empty netter to bring the game to a 6-3 final for the second night in a row. Justin Brandt was the play-making star for the Bruins with four assists. Alex Schilling stopped 32 of 25 for his 22nd win.
Games one and two of the Central Division Semifinals against the Minnesota Wilderness will be played next Friday and Saturday at Riverside Arena – both games beginning at 7:05 PM. The first 500 fans through the door on Friday will get a playoff rally towel courtesy of Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine and Games People Play. Games three and four (if necessary) are scheduled for April 20th and 21st at Northwoods Credit Union Arena in Cloquet, MN. Game five, if necessary, would take place Monday April 23rd at Riverside.
General admission tickets go on sale this coming Monday at Hy-Vee, Jim’s Marketplace, Games People Play, and the Holiday Inn for $11 per adult and $8 per student and senior.