Photo credit: Eric Johnson, Austin Daily Herald
AUSTIN, MN – The Bruins built a 2-0 lead over the first 40 minutes and held off the Wilderness in the final seven minutes of the third period, to claim game one of their best-of-five Central Division Semifinals on Friday night at Riverside Arena.
After a scoreless first fourteen-and-a-half minutes, Valdemar Ahlberg broke the seal, tapping in a fortuitous bounce after an arrant Lane Krenzen blast at 14:34. The Bruins held the Wilderness to five first period shots and took a 1-0 lead into the break.
Austin came out firing in the second and hit three goal posts in about a four minute span. Alex Mella, Dante Zapata, and Ahlberg all struck iron before Mella got his redemption at 5:34, sweeping in a rebound from a Josef Mysak shot, and doubling the Bruins lead. Zapata picked up a secondary helper. Alex Schilling made several key saves including stopping Garrett Worth on a breakaway, and the Bruins led 2-0 through two periods.
The score remained 2-0 until the 12:51 mark of the third when Ondrej Trejbal rocketed a shot over the stick-side shoulder of Schilling to cut the deficit in half. The final seven minutes was all about defense and goaltending for the Bruins who blocked shots and kept the puck on the boards to survive with a 2-1 win. Schilling stopped 20 of 21, while Wilderness goaltender Ryan Fanti turned aside 34 of 36 shots.
The Bruins and Wilderness play game two of their series on Saturday night at 7:05 PM, once again at Riverside Arena, with doors opening at six. The game will also be broadcast on HockeyTV.com, AM 1480 KAUS, myaustinminnesota.com, and the iHeart Radio App, with coverage beginning at 6:55 PM.