CLOQUET, Minn. – After a two-goal first-period lead, the Bruins weren’t able to outlast the Wilderness who won in a shootout, 3-2.
Austin came out hot in Cloquet, scoring their first goal of the night a little over seven minutes into the game. Dante Sheriff worked his way into the zone and snapped a wrister past Wilderness netminder Kaleb Johnson for the game’s first goal. Later in the period, Ben Almquist netted his team-leading fourth goal off a feed from Hugh Larkin. With the lead, 2-0, the Bruins headed into the locker room in complete control.
In the second, Austin continued their dominance outshooting the Wilderness by nearly double through the first two periods of play, but ultimately both teams were held scoreless, after forty minutes and Austin maintained the 2-0 lead.
Starting the third period, Austin began on a shortened penalty-kill which they were able to survive. Shortly after regaining full-strength, Carson Riddle was called for a tripping minor and escorted to the box. With the man-advantage, the Wilderness mounted their comeback. Following a Jaxon Friedman save on a blast from the point, Wilderness defenseman Kimball Johnson scooped up the rebound and put it into a mostly-empty net to pull the home team to within one, 2-1.
Nearly fifteen minutes went by and time was running out on Minnesota when Lewis Crosby charged the net colliding with Bruins goalie Friedman. After getting knocked out of the crease, Friedman was unable to scramble back as Wilderness forward Nate Horn slammed the puck home to tie the game at two goals apiece.
Neither team could score a traditional goal in the remaining portion of the third period, or overtime, and a shootout was needed to decide a winner. Austin couldn’t solve Wilderness goalie Kaleb Johnson, and in the fourth round of the shootout, Minnesota got the victory when Zach Michaelis fired a wrister past Friedman.
For the Bruins, it was their fourth straight game going into overtime or a shootout. The previous three were all victories for Austin, part of their three-game win streak coming into the night. With the loss, the Bruins fall to 5-2-0-2 on the season while the Wilderness improves to 6-3-0-0.
The two teams will meet again on Saturday night, this time at Riverside Arena. It’s the team’s first postgame skate of the season where fans of all ages are encouraged to bring their skates to take some laps with the Bruins and get some autographs. Tickets for the game are on sale now at all the Bruins vendors including Games People Play, Hy-Vee, Holiday Inn, and Jim’s Marketplace.