AUSTIN, MN – It was a “shootout” in two senses of the term on Friday night at Riverside Arena as the Bruins pelted 51 shots through three periods and overtime, but ultimately fell in a four round shootout to the Minnesota Wilderness, marking their third straight loss, all against their in-state rivals.
An early major penalty assessed to the Wilderness’ Alex Truscott for a hit on Matt Eller gave the Bruins a five minute power play, to which they quickly cashed in. Dan Petrick sat to the right of Wilderness goaltender Ryan Fanti and slammed home a rebound back-door for a 1-0 Bruins lead. Assists went to Andy Willis and Evan Cholak. The Bruins didn’t score again on the power play but doubled their lead at 15:59 when Dante Sheriff scored a highlight reel goal, dancing through the Wilderness defense and tucking it in around Fanti’s pad. The Bruins put 18 shots on goal in the first and skated to the intermission with a 2-0 lead.
The Wilderness got even with an early goal and a late one in the 2nd. At 2:55, Nick Altmann’s redirect on a shot from Jay Powell lifted over Alex Schilling to cut the lead in half. In the final minute of the period, Nathan Horn jumped on a rebound through a scramble around Schilling to tie the game. It was a power play goal. The score was even at two heading into the third.
At 12:49 of the third, Wilderness defenseman Ondrej Trejbal ripped a one-timer off a faceoff win and it went crossbar and down to beat Schilling and give the Wilderness their first lead of the game. On the ensuing shift, however, Travis Kothenbeutel rushed into the zone and wristed one between Fanti’s pads to tie the game at three. Linemates Cholak and Garrett Dahm carried the assists.
The Bruins had the better chances in overtime, outshooting the Wilderness 5-1, but with some good luck and solid goaltending, the Wilderness survived to force a shootout. Gino Lucia scored right away and Fanti stopped Dante Zapata. After a Schilling save on Luke Dow, Dominic Skrelja tied the shootout at one. Schilling stopped Ben Ward and Cholak with a chance to win the game, appeared to have Fanti beat but the Wilderness goaltender stretched out his leg to keep the puck from crossing the goal line. Defenseman Eric Gotz scored in the fourth round and Fanti stopped Sheriff to end the game.
The Wilderness moved into a tie with the Bruins for 2nd in the Central Division as Aberdeen took sole possession of first place by defeating Brookings. The Bruins and Wilderness finish the season series with a 7:05 faceoff on Saturday night at Northwoods Credit Union Arena in Cloquet. The game will be broadcast on HockeyTV, with the away feed carrying the Bruins broadcast. Fans are encouraged to watch the game live at The Bakery Lounge – the official home of Bruins road games. A radio broadcast will also be available on AM 1480 KAUS and myaustinminnesota.com.