AUSTIN, MN – In a back and forth affair on Friday Night at Riverside Arena, the Bruins prevailed 4-3 in a shootout over the Minot Minotauros in the first meeting of the season between the two teams. The win snapped a four game losing streak for the Bruins and started off a busy month of January on a positive note.
Minot controlled the majority of the opening period and took a 1-0 lead at 9:06 of the frame when Michael Talbot finished a pass from Fritz Belisle up and over Bruins goaltender Alex Schilling. Late in the period, Travis Kothenbeutel scored a power play goal to even the score. Kothenbeutel patiently closed down to the left-wing circle and wristed home his 12th goal of the season, assists going to Evan Cholak and Dan Petrick. With shots even at 10, the game went into the first intermission tied at one.
The Bruins took their first lead of the game at 5:30 of the second period when a Kothenbeutel shot sailed over the net and off the end boards back out in front. Cholak got a stick on it as it trickled just across the goal line of unsuspecting Minot goaltender Samu Lonkila. The ‘Tauros responded with a power play tally at 9:07 when Sam Fuss banged a rebound past Schilling from an errant Miroslav Mucha shot. The Bruins would reclaim their lead at 13:45 thanks to Alex Mella, who darted up the left wing and beat Lonkila to his stick-side with a perfect wrist-shot. Dante Sheriff and Chase Pilawski set Mella up. The Bruins led 3-2 heading to the third.
Down a goal, Minot took a penalty 11:52, but not only killed it off, scored a shorthanded goal to tie the game. After a series of shot blocks, Austin Dollimer created a 2-on-1 through the neutral zone and found Rykr Cole on the doorstep for a tap-in. The game remained tied at three through the end of regulation. As they did a week ago against the Wilderness, the Bruins dominated the 3-on-3 overtime, but a Lonkila glove save on a Kothenbeutel breakaway was the highlight of the OT, which solved nothing.
Defenseman Lincoln Erne opened the shootout by failing to get an attempt on goal as his deke slid the puck right off his stick and wide of the net. Dante Zapata scored his team-leading third shootout goal with his signature backhand move to give the Bruins the advantage. After Schilling stopped Mucha, Xander Lamppa deked to his forehand and beat Lonkila to clinch the win. The Bruins improved to 3-4 in shootouts. Schilling got his first shootout win of the season and his ninth overall, with 25 saves. Lonkila turned aside 32 in the losing effort.
The Bruins gained ground on the Minnesota Wilderness, who lost at Coulee, as well as Bismarck and Brookings who were idle. They will go for the weekend sweep of Minot on Saturday night at 7:05 PM.