by John Peterson
For the second time this season, a struggling Minot Minotauros team (21-29-3) found a way to snap an Austin Bruins (34-18-1) five-game winning streak with a 3-1 win Friday at Maysa Arena in Minot
Neither team sustained much pressure in the offensive zone in what was a sloppy first period. The Bruins were unsuccessful on their only power-play, while the Minotauros failed to convert on two chances on the man-advantage. The highlight of the period was a pretty good fight between Austin’s Alex Pettersson (Ockero, Sweden) and Jordan Stejskal (Grand Rapids, MN) of Minot. However, the game remained scoreless at the first intermission, with the Minotauros outshooting the Bruins 10-8.
The Minotauros found the net three times in the second period. Minot’s first goal came from a Jacob Howie (Grand Blanc, MI) backhander from low in the right circle that Howie lifted into the top corner over the shoulder of Bruins goaltender Dillon Kelley (Petoskey, MI). Then it was former Bruin Colton Kramer (Sioux City, IA) who split the Austin defense and slid the puck through the five-hole of Kelley on the backhand to make it 2-0. Finally, Tim Donohue (Prior Lake, MN) batted a puck out of the air and into the net out of a goal-mouth scramble to open the lead up to 3-0 before the second intermission.
Early in the third period, Niko Hildenbrand (Vacaville, CA) notched a goal from the slot to put the Bruins on the scoreboard, but the Minot defense held strong the rest of the way in helping goaltender Brandon Wildung (Minneota, MN) earn the win. Wildung stopped 28 shots, including 14 in the third period. Kelley made 30 saves in the loss.
Austin and Minot will battle one final time in the regular season Saturday at 7:35pm at Maysa Arena in Minot. The current Central Division standing indicate that the Bruins and Minotauros could be first round opponents in the playoffs for the second year in a row, but there is still three weeks left in the season. Saturday’s game can be viewed on fasthockey.com and heard on 1480AM KAUS in Austin.