by John Peterson
As the Austin Bruins (38-18-1) closed in on a big win over the Bismarck Bobcats (30-22-5) Friday at Riverside Arena, forward Jay Dickman (Shoreview, MN), who had a goal early in the game, added an assist on an empty-netter to claim the all-time Bruins record for career points (119), passing Brandon Wahlin (White Bear Lake, MN). Austin went on to a 6-2 win on Fan Appreciation Night.
The Bruins benefited from four power-plays in the opening period, and finally capitalized on a 5-on-3 when Dickman found a loose puck low in the slot and waited for Bismarck goaltender Scott Albertoni (Arvada, CO) to go down to the butterfly before lifting the puck into the top shelf to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead. The goal gave Dickman 118 career points, which tied Wahlin’s scoring mark. The Bruins outshot the Bobcats 17-8 and led by a goal after one period.
The march to the penalty box continued in the second period for both teams. Each team failed to convert on an early power-play, before Bismarck tied the game during a 4-on-4, when Nate Repensky (Duluth, MN) fired a one-timer into the top corner from the point. Austin regained the lead, when Drew Anderson (Rochester, MN) faked a wrap-around behind the Bobcats’ net, before finding Eli May (Eagan, MN) in the opposite circle. May quickly snapped the shot past the scrambling goaltender. Easton Viitala (Marquette, MI) knocked home a rebound in front of the net to make it 3-1 on the power-play late in the middle stanza.
Early in the third period, a bad Bruins turnover led to an easy goal by Bismarck’s Evan Giesler (Naperville, IL), who had all day to make his move before beating Bruins goalie Nick Lehr (Roseville, MN). Viitala redirected a Josh Bretner (N. Potamac, MD) shot past Albertoni for his second goal of the game to give the Bruins a two-goal lead again. Trey Dodd (St. Louis, MN) ripped a shot off the crossbar and in after a Bismarck defensive zone giveaway to make it 5-2. Then with just over two minutes remaining, Brian Bachnak (Riverview, MI) tapped home the empty-netter after receiving Dickman’s pass to finish the scoring, giving Dickman the record. Lehr made 21 saves in his 33rd win of the season. The Bruins were 3/8 on the power-play, and a perfect 10/10 on the penalty kill.
The Bruins will play their regular season home finale Saturday night against the Bobcats at 7:05pm at Riverside Arena. Tickets are still available at the Bruins ticket office, as well as HyVee, Games People Play and Walgreens in Austin. The broadcast of the game will be shown on fasthockey.com and will also air on 1480AM KAUS.