by John Peterson
The first home series of the season for the defending Central Division Champion Austin Bruins (5-1-2) was supposed to celebrate the successes of last season while the new players in black and gold continued their hot start on the ice. Someone forgot to tell the Aberdeen Wings. After a 1-0 overtime win Friday, the Wings (6-2-0) swept the weekend with a 4-3 shootout victory Saturday at Riverside Arena in Austin.
For the second straight night, both teams struggled to generate scoring chances in the first 20 minutes of the game. The Bruins outshot the Wings 11-7 in the first period, as it looked like we would see a repeat of Friday’s tilt.
That would not be the case, as the two teams erupted for five combined goals in a high-scoring second frame. Aberdeen took the lead at 5:18 of the period, when Jack Nile (Lisle, IL) cleaned up a rebound following a 3-on-2 for his second goal of the season. 42 seconds later, Drew Doyon (Carmel, IN) made it 2-0 on a wrist shot from high in the slot, stemming from a Bruins turnover.
Austin answered at 7:56 when Jacob Kullberg (Kallered, Sweden) sniped a shot into the top corner over the glove of Wings goalie Chad Catt (Williamstown, MI). Pat Lauderdale (Eden Prairie, MN) tied the game out of a net-mouth scramble at 10:03, but the Bruins never lead. Late in the period, Kyle Haak (Okemos, MI) led Ronnie Hein (Chelsea, MI) to the net on a give-and-go and Hein deflected in his seventh of the season to give Aberdeen a 3-2 lead at the second intermission.
The Bruins buzzed around the Wings net throughout the third period, with several flurries around Catt’s net. It finally paid off, as Brian Bachnak (Riverview, MI) tapped a rebound off the back wall into a wide-open net to even the score at 3-3. For the second night in a row, the two teams went to overtime, but this time there wasn’t a winner in the extra stanza.
In the shootout, Haak, Bjorn Sigurdarson (Reykjavik, Iceland), and Tanner Okeson (Roseau, MN) all scored on Bruins goaltender Jake Kielly (Eden Prairie, MN), as the Wings won the skills competition 3-0.
Next weekend Austin travels to Aberdeen for a weekend series at the Odde Ice Center in South Dakota. Friday and Saturday night’s games will start at 7:15pm. The Bruins don’t return home until October 24-25, when they host rival Bismarck at Riverside Arena.