ABERDEEN, S.D. – Kyle McClellan made 41 saves and the Bruins earned a crucial standings point despite falling to the Aberdeen Wings, 3-2, in the shootout.
Out of the gate, Saturday’s game had a much different feel than the game played just 24 hours before. The Bruins were on loose pucks, battling along the boards, and controlling the pace of play. Similarly to Friday night, however, that all came to a crashing halt with Aberdeen taking the game’s first lead 1-0 off the stick of Stepan Pokorny only two minutes and 26 seconds into the game. Despite giving up the early lead, the Bruins fight never wavered and eventually pushed the Wings on their heels. About ten minutes after surrendering the first goal of the game, Reggie Millette slipped a wrist shot through the legs of Wings netminder Matt Vernon to tie the game at one goal apiece. The Bruins didn’t wait long to build on their momentum with Dante Sheriff giving the Bruins their first lead of the weekend, scoring on a bar-down rifle from the high slot.
The first period was one of action, but the Bruins held the advantage going into the locker room, 2-1. Out of the gate in the second period, Brad Belisle made his presence known tying the game with his fourth goal of the weekend, his sixth overall point with a shot that got past Kyle McClellan.
Each team scrapped and had plenty of chances in the third, especially Aberdeen who tested McClellan and the Bruins defense with increasingly difficult chances, but each time the teams were able to fight off the attack and force and overtime.
In the second overtime, the two teams have played against one another this season, in just their fourth meeting, neither team could find the back of the net and once again the Bruins and Wings headed to a shootout. Austin sent out Josef Mysak, Levi Stauber, and Andy Willis but the trio couldn’t solve Vernon. Meanwhile, on the opposite end, Joe Strada deked past McClellan for the games only shootout goal, but it stood the test as the Wings earned their 18th straight victory of the season, the longest streak in the NAHL this season.
With the loss, the Bruins have dropped their last seven straight but earned a crucial standings point which keeps them in second place in the Central Division ahead of the Minnesota Wilderness.
The Bruins will wrap up their five-straight road games this weekend with a showdown against the Midwest Division leaders, the Minnesota Magicians, on Friday. February 1. The following night, the Bruins will return home to Riverside Arena to finish out the home-and-home series while also celebrating the ninth annual, Paint the Rink Pink Game. Tickets for Saturday night’s showdown with the Magicians are on sale now at all the Bruins vendors including Games People Play, Hy-Vee, Holiday Inn, and Jim’s Marketplace. During the game, Austin will be wearing specialty jerseys which are adorned with the names of those affected by cancer. The jerseys will be auctioned off after the game with players performing skits to entertain the crowd. Also, fans will be able to submit a photo of a friend or loved one who has been affected by cancer to the Bruins for play during intermission and one lucky fan will have the chance to win $100,000 during our Dippin Stix Shot of the Game. To submit your photo, email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Proceeds from the event will benefit cancer research at the Hormel Institute