Bruins Earn Point, but Fall to Kenai River in Shootout 4-3

BLAINE, Minn. – The Bruins were able to tie the game on two separate occasions, but couldn’t outlast the Kenai River Brown Bears who won in a shootout, 4-3.

In the first period, it was all Austin who controlled the pace of play. Despite the ice being tilted heavily in their favor, Kenai River found the back of the net twice, once of the stick of Logan Ritchie and once off his foot. Ritchie netted his first goal of the night after stripping Dante Sheriff in the defensive zone and firing a shot past Bruins netminder Jaxon Friedman. The second goal was less planned, as Ritchie cut to the slot and saw a shot careen off his fit and through the legs of Friedman for the 2-0 Kenai River lead.

In the second period, the Bruins turned on the juice. Forward Kevin Gabor used his speed to cut-off a pass in the offensive zone, skate through two stick checks and go bar-down to cut the lead in half 2-1. Later in the period, the Bruins tied things up when Joe Mysak found a streaking Tiernan Shoudy cutting into the slot. Shoudy fielded the puck on his backhand and slipped the puck through the legs of Brown Bears goalie, Danny Fraga. With a renewed sense of momentum, the Bruins powered on but surrendered the tie-breaking goal late in the second period while on the penalty kill. Rob McCollum rifled a shot from his left-wing point that saw it’s way past the bodies in front and into the back of the net.

Trailing 3-2 out of the gate in the third period, Austin climbed their way back into the tie once again. Dante Sheriff stick-handled past numerous defenders in close and curled around the net, leaving the puck for Hugh Larking who powered it in for the 3-3 tie

Both teams couldn’t find a winner in the rest of the third period or the overtime 3-on-3, so a shootout was needed. Austin sent Kevin Gabor the line first and his chance went wide. Kenai River counted with Laudon Poellinger who didn’t get past the top of the circles when his snapshot sped past Friedman for the shootout’s first and only goal. The Bruins got a big stop from Friedman in the second round, but they were ultimately held out of the net and the Brown Bears got the extra point.

Austin finished with a total of five out of eight possible points on the weekend having won games against Jamestown and New Mexico, losing to Janesville in regulation, and falling in the shootout to Kenai River to wrap up the NAHL Showcase.

On Friday, September 27 the Bruins being their traditional portion of the 2019-20 season with two games on the road against the Aberdeen Wings. Austin will welcome Aberdeen to Spam Town the following weekend for games on October 4 and 5, the team’s home-opening weekend.

October 4 is not only the home opener, but it’s the teams first $10 Night of the season. $10 tickets, $10 buckets of beer, $10 select merchandise, and more will be had as the Bruins renew their rivalry against the Aberdeen Wings. Tickets go on sale Monday, September 30 at all the Bruins vendors including Games People Play, Hy-Vee, Holiday Inn, and Jim’s Marketplace.