AUSTIN, Minn. – The Bruins earned a standing point in the loss to the Minnesota Wilderness on Wednesday night at Riverside Arena.
The two teams, playing in their third contest against one another this season, took the entire first period to feel each other out. It was a back-and-forth frame, but neither team found the back of the net.
In the second period, it only took the Bruins 32 seconds to take the game’s first lead. Hugh Larkin netted his team-leading fifth goal of the season when he slipped a wrist shot past the right arm of Wilderness netminder Jonathan Mor. With the lead, 1-0 the Bruins began to take over. They commanded the game into the second intermission and controlled most of the play after the teams eresumed action in the third.
While time winding down in the third-period, Dante Sheriff was called for a tripping penalty sending the Bruins on the Fairway Mortgage Penalty Kill for the fourth time of the night. Despite being successful on their first three attempts, the Wilderness were able to get a greasy goal right in front of the net to tie the score at 1-1. In his first game back since being returned to the Bruins from a stint in the USHL, goaltender Brett Miller found himself scrambling for a loose puck that was ultimately picked up by Wilderness forward Bram Scheerer who powered it home for his second goal of the season. The goal came with only 3:08 left to go in the third period, and with neither team able to break the tie in regulation, the two squads were headed to overtime for the second time in three games this season.
In the extra period, Dante Sheriff had a strong offensive opportunity, but a stop by Mor allowed the Wilderness to gain momentum. Marching up the ice, Nate Horn pushed home a goal past Brett Miller to seal the game 2-1 in favor of the Wilderness.
With the overtime loss, the Bruins fall to 5-5-1-2 on the season but earned a crucial standings point which helps them take sole possession of fourth place in the NAHL Central Division. Minnesota, on the other hand, earned the full two points and is now tied with Bismarck at the top of the division. Austin would outshoot their opponents on the night, 30-26, but weren’t able to convert on the power-play, going 0-3. The Wilderness were successful one time on four chances with the extra man.
Austin will pack up their bags and hit the road on Thursday in preparation for two games in Minot, ND, against the Minotauros this weekend. Then, following a road game in Richfield against the Magicians on Friday, November 1, the Bruins return home to Riverside Arena for a Saturday night conclusion to the home-and-home series with the Magicians. Tickets for the Saturday, November 2 game go on sale Monday, October 28 at all the Bruins vendors including Games People Play, Hy-Vee, Holiday Inn, and Jim’s Marketplace.