AUSTIN, Minn. – The Austin Bruins dropped the puck on the 2020-21 NAHL Season with a victory over the Janesville Jets, 4-3 on Friday night. Forward Walter Zacher netted two goals in the win, including the game-winner late in the third, while Barrett Brooks and Peter Jacobs each added tallies of their own.
The action was frenzied right from the get-go, with the Bruins getting a grade-A breakaway chance off the stick of rookie Jens Richards, but Janesville netminder Owen Millward was up tot he task and turned the puck aside. It wouldn’t take long, however, for Austin to break open the scoring. Midway through the first, Peter Jacobs hit the back of the net with a power-play tally to give the Bruins the 1-0 lead. On the goal, the second-year Bruin found a rebound off the pads of Millward and pushed it past the line to give the Bruins their first goal of the new season. The black-and-gold’s lead didn’t last long as the visiting Jets struck back quickly. Two-minutes and 15 seconds after the Bruins broke open the scoring, Janesville forward Jaxson Ezman evened the score at 1-1, beating Bruins goalie Tyler Shea. In perhaps the quickest back-to-back goals ever surrendered by the Bruins, only ten seconds elapsed before Janesville took their first lead of the night off the stick of Alexander Lucken. The first-year defensemen sailed a shot from center ice that snuck past Shea and lifted Janesville on top, 2-1.
In the second period, the Bruins managed to pull level with the Jets scoring their second power-play goal. Newcomer Walter Zacher tallied the frames’ only goal and lifted the Bruins to a 2-2 tie heading into the second intermission.
Out of the gate in the third, the Bruins fell behind for the second time in the game when Shane Ott scored his second goal of the season, elevating Janesville to a 3-2 lead. As they had done before, the Bruins continued to fight back. Halfway through the third, Noah Szretter, recently acquired by the Bruins in a trade with the New Jersey Titans, sent a shot in on goal where Barrett Brooks collected the rebound and slid a back-hander past the outstretched arm of a falling Millward. Just shy of seven minutes later, Walter Zacher took a loose puck from the high-slot, worked his way to the right circle, and snapped a wrister under the left-arm of Millward to give the Bruins their first lead since the first period. With only three minutes and 14 seconds left on the clock after Zacher’s second goal of the night, the Bruins fought off the Jets to earn the victory, 4-3.
With the win, the Bruins moved to 1-0-0-0 on the young season, while Janesville suffered their first loss of the year and fell to 2-1-0-0. Under Head Coach Steve Howard, the Bruins are 3-1-0-0 in regular-season openers. Tyler Shea turned aside 17 of 20 shots that he faced, earning the victory, while Owen Millward was good on 24 of 28 shots and recorded the loss. As for special teams, the Bruins went 2-for-4 on the man-advantage, while the Jets managed one power-play goal on five advantages.
Up next for the Bruins, they take on the Jets in an encore at Riverside Arena, Saturday night at 7:05. Tickets for the game are officially sold out, but Bruins fans can purchase upcoming game tickets online at www.austinbruins.com/single-game-tickets.