AUSTIN, Minn. – For the first home preseason game of the season, the Bruins welcomed the US National Team Development Program to Riverside Arena for a Monday afternoon matinee, but the US Team left the venue with a 5-0 victory.
Both teams came into the game on Monday having played two games over the weekend, but each team was heading in different directions. The Bruins, who have only been together as a team for about a week, were looking to rebound from the two losses handed to them from the Aberdeen Wings. The USNTDP, who is working on their second season together, took down the NAHL’s St. Cloud Norsemen in back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday night.
Out of the gate, the game flowed back-and-forth with the Bruins getting some chances in the opening minutes but the star of the first period was Tyler Shea. The second-year Bruins goaltender made several incredible glove saves to keep the game scoreless through most of the first period. Try as he might, Shea eventually gave up the game’s first goal with less than four minutes to go in the first. Following a defensive-zone turnover, a loose puck found it’s way to USNTDP’s Jeremy Wilmer who managed to handcuff Shea with a soft backhander that floated under the netminder’s arm and in. That was the only goal registered in the first as both teams headed to the locker room with the USNTDP up, 1-0.
In the second period, the Bruins slipped defensively and gave the USNTDP a chance to increase their lead. The game’s second goal came off the stick of Sash Pastujov and would be the final goal surrendered by Shea before both teams made a goalie swap. The USNTDP would add two more goals, this time on Bruins netminder Zach Hansen, and merely minutes after Hansen entered the game. Tyler Boucher tallied the USNTDP’s third goal of the game making it 3-0 in favor of the visitors before Jack Devine stretched the lead to 4-0. Both Boucher’s and Devine’s goals were scored on an extended power-play with Bruins forward Peter Jacobs serving a double-minor for high-sticking. All-in-all, from the time that Pastajov made it 2-0 to the USNTDP’s ultimate 4-0 lead, less than three minutes had elapsed and the Bruins found themselves reeling after two, trailing 4-0.
In the third period, despite a 5-minute power-play that was cut short after four minutes, the Bruins weren’t able to solve netminder Kaiden Mbereko. USNTDP defenseman scored the games penultimate goal midway through the third period with a wrist shot from the blue line that went bar-down and over the shoulder of Hansen. All the goals in Monday’s game were unassisted and it was the second time this preseason that the Bruins were shutout, following Friday’s 2-0 loss at the hands of the Aberdeen Wings. Despite the struggles, the Bruins held their own and competed right down to the final minutes including a skirmish in the games waning moments.
Up next for Austin, they welcome another stiff test in the form of the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers on Friday night and Saturday afternoon at Riverside Arena. Tickets for that game are open to the public and available by calling the Bruins front office at 507-434-4978 or by emailing TJ Chillot at firstname.lastname@example.org.