Photo credit: Scott Jacobson, Post Bulletin
AUSTIN, MN – The Bruins scored four in the 2nd and three more in the 3rd to rout the Bismarck Bobcats 7-0 in game three of the Central Division Finals on Friday night at Riverside Arena. The Bruins staved off elimination and forced game four right back home on Saturday night.
The Bruins played a strong first period, outshooting Bismarck 10-3 but neither team found the back of the net. About midway through the 2nd, Jan Stefka took a cross ice pass from Jade Miller at 11:07 on a power play to break the double goose egg. Just 14 seconds later, Austin Rueschhoff made it 2-0 off a Luke Notermann feed from below the goal line. Riding momentum, the Bruins added on at 16:20 when Paul O'Connor's shot from the high slot got past Bismarck goalie Hunter Shepard. It was O'Connor's third of the playoffs, matching his regular season total in just seven postseason contests. Less than two minutes later, once again on the power play, Stefka snuck a shot past Shepard for his second goal of the period, and the end of Shepard's night. Nick Althaus played the rest of the game in relief as the Bruins took the 4-0 lead into the intermission.
In the 3rd, the Bruins continued their perfect special teams play when AJ Drobot banged home a rebound at 8:02. Not long after, Miha Zajc took a Notermann pass and made it 6-0. Attempting to run the final 4:30 off the clock, Bismarck's defense held the puck behind their net for nearly the entire final quarter of the third frame, until Patrik Demel turned it over to Zajc, who helped set up Jade Miller for the 7th goal to cap the victory with 17 seconds left. It was a fairly easy night for Kris Carlson, who posted an 18 save shutout.
Game four is Saturday night at 7:05 at Riverside Arena, the final game on Riverside ice this year. Tickets can be purchased for $4 off the door price at Hy Vee, Jim's Marketplace, Games People Play, or the Holiday Inn.