BISMARCK, ND – Justin Brandt seems to have a flare for the dramatic. After scoring an overtime winner in the preseason and a last second game-tying goal at the NAHL Showcase, he was able to find the game-winner late in the third period on Saturday night to break a 1-1 tie and send the Bruins to a road sweep of the Bobcats.
Like Friday night, the first period was scoreless. The Bruins outshot the Bobcats 8-5 and killed off two penalties – a continuing theme of the weekend, that saw the Bruins kill all ten Bismarck power play chances. The Bruins’ Alex Schilling and Bismarck’s John Roberts had strong first periods in their respective nets.
At 7:51 of the second period, Matej Murin and Michael Mahan were each called for penalties, giving the Bruins a full two-man advantage and Travis Kothenbeutel capitalized with a shot from the high slot, just above the faceoff circles. The goal was set up by Jaden Shields and Andy Willis. Bismarck was able to answer 2:30 later when Alex Pollock found himself alone in front of Schilling, who couldn’t react fast enough to stop a quick trigger-pull. The score was 1-1 through two periods.
Schilling played a huge factor in the third, as Bismarck won the shot battle, 7-4, but couldn’t solve the stingy Bruins netminder. At 14:17, Brandt and his linemates Valdemar Ahlberg and Sviatoslov Kuchysnki worked a sustained forecheck, moving the puck up to the left point for a Matt Eller shot that came down in front and was buried by Brandt to break the tie. With three minutes remaining, Bismarck was awarded an extended 5 on 3 of their own, but Schilling and the Bruins defense held down the fort to seal their second 2-1 win of the weekend. Schilling stopped 27 of 28 shots and 51 of 53 in the series.
Bismarck has followed a six game winning streak with four losses in a row. The Bruins are back to the .500 mark at 6-6-3 and will play a home and home series with the Coulee Region Chill next weekend, starting Friday night in La Crosse for a 7:00 faceoff. Saturday night at Military Appreciation Night at Riverside Arena at 7:05. All active and former military with proof of I.D. receive free admission at the door, Marine Toys for Tots of Freeborn-Mower County will be collecting donations in the lobby, and their will be a live postgame specialty jersey auction.