BLAINE, Minn. – The Austin Bruins started both the NAHL Showcase and their 2018-19 season on the right foot with a 4-3 victory of the Odessa Jackalopes on Wednesday night.
Playing in their first regular season game of the year, the Bruins took to the ice against Odessa who owned a 1-1-1 record coming in, having played three contests so far this season. The Jackalopes jumped out to a lead midway through the first period when James Crossman beat Bruins netminder Kyle McClellan to take the game’s first lead, 1-0. Later, in the waning seconds of the period, Austin leveled the score off the stick of Hugh Larkin who slid a backhand shot past Odessa’s goalie, Alex Camerre, with only nine ticks left on the board.
Out of the locker room in the second period, Austin took their first lead of the game when Dante Sheriff muscled his way past an Odessa defenseman and powered a backhander through Camerre’s legs to get Austin their first lead of the game. It was a lead that Austin would never give up as moments late, Andy Willis rocketed a shoot nearly parallel with the goal-line which find some daylight and lit the lamp for the 3-1 Bruins lead.
Odessa certainly didn’t go do without a fight as they battled back to within one goal on two separate occasions. In the latter moments of the second period sending both teams to the lockers with the score favoring Austin, 3-2.
In the third, Austin would add some insurance thanks to Carson Riddle who rifled a wrist-shot past Camerre’s outstretched glove hand improving the Bruins lead to 4-2. The insurance proved vital, and Odessa wasted no time getting that goal back when Eric Huss fired a shot of his own, beating McClellan and once again pulling Odessa back within one goal.
Despite having to the kill the final two minutes on the power play, enduring a 6-on-4 advantage for Odessa who pulled their netminder, the Bruins killed the remaining time and left Schwan Super Rink with a win in their first regular season game of the season, 4-3, over the Odessa Jackalopes.
The Bruins are back in action on Thursday, with an 11 A.M. start against the Lone Star Brahmas for the second of four games at the NAHL Showcase.