by John Peterson
Two consecutive highlight reel goals and an empty netter, all from veteran forward Trevor Boyd (Muskegon, MI), turned a 2-2 tie into a 5-2 win for the Austin Bruins (34-11-11) against the Minnesota Wilderness (34-13-6) Saturday at Riverside Arena in Austin. The win propelled the Bruins to a weekend sweep of the Wilderness, and four straight wins over the team from Cloquet.
Minnesota jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first period, when Ian Mansfield (Lakewood, CO) sent a backhander past Bruins goalie Evan Smith (Parker, CO) on the short side six minutes into the game. The Bruins tied it when Alex Pettersson’s (Ockero, Sweden) wrist shot deflected off the glove of Wilderness goalie Brock Kautz (Rochester, MN), and Tony Uglem (Moorhead, MN) knocked the rebound in. The teams skated to the first intermission tied 1-1.
At the end of a superb shift in the Minnesota zone, Austin’s European line capitalized for the 2-1 lead at 4:14 of the second period, when Jacob Kullberg (Kallered, Sweden) tapped in the puck out of a net-mouth scramble. Pettersson and Nico Sturm (Augsburg, Germany) picked up assists on the goal. This time the Wilderness answered, when Aaron Miller (Superior, WI) fired a quick wrist shot under the glove of Smith.
90 seconds after Miller tied it, Boyd took over. Streaking down the left wing, the 20-year-old forward let a missile of a shot go from the top of the circle to the top corner over the glove of Kautz. The goal gave the Bruins a 3-2 lead heading into the second break.
In the third, an Alex Jasiek (St. Louis, MO) set up Boyd, who split the defense, walked in on goal and scored one of the nicest goals of the season to add some insurance to Austin’s cause. With an empty Wilderness net in the final minutes, Boyd gathered the puck at the half-wall on Wilderness clearing attempted and completed the hat-trick to ensure the win and weekend sweep.
Smith won his second consecutive game in net for the Bruins, as the 18-year-old stopped 22 shots, while Kautz took his second straight loss in a 20-save performance.
The Bruins finish off the regular season with two straight home-and-home weekend series with the Brookings Blizzard. Next Friday, the two teams will skate in Brookings at 7:15pm, and Saturday the series shifts to Austin for a 7:05pm start. Both games can be seen on fasthockey.com, and Saturday’s will also be on 1480AM KAUS.