BROOKINGS, SD. – After trailing for the almost the entire game, the Bruins stormed back in the final minute of the third to tie things up in thrilling fashion and ultimately knocked off the Brookings Blizzard in the shootout, 4-3. Brookings got the scoring started as Carter Krogman beat Kyle McClellan with a wrist shot from a distance. Austin was having trouble maintaining possession of the puck for parts of the first period. Brookings would extend its lead to two as Johnny Johnson beat McClellan from the slot. While also trailing on the scoreboard, the Bruins were outshot 12-6 in the first period.
in the second, the physical play picked up and as a result, the physicality picked up. Devon Fields and Bud Winter went toe-to-toe in a spirited bout less than three minutes into the middle frame which perhaps gave a boost to the Bruins offense. Later in the period, Austin got their first goal of the game thanks to Ben Almquist who scored his ninth of the season, cutting the lead in half to 2-1 in favor of the Blizzard. Brookings got their two-goal lead back when Luke Aquaro stuffed the puck past McClellan making it 3-1 in the second period. Austin kept up the fight and Dante Sheriff scored a highlight reel goal helping Austin back into the game, making it 3-2. The Bruins’ leading point-getter deked through the defense before putting the puck between his own legs and roofing the puck over Blizzard goalie Brennan Boynton.
With fresh momentum coming out of the locker room in the third, the Bruins picked up the pace of play. The black-and-gold peppered Boynton with multiple chances but Brookings held onto their 3-2 lead. In the waning moments of the third period, Austin pulled the goalie for the extra attacker. Despite a wide open net, Brookings missed four opportunities to ice the game during the same shift, firing the puck wide each time. The Bruins possessed the puck after the misses and leaned on their top-scorers once again. Sheriff answered the call, tying the game with only 42 seconds to go in regulation and effectively forcing overtime.
Neither team would find the back of the net in overtime and a winner needed to be decided in the shootout. Austin had not been successful in the shootout coming into the game, going just 1-6 in seven games with their last win coming back in September during the NAHL Showcase. Lane Krenzen scored in the second round for the Bruins while Ryan Green scored in the third round for Brookings. The winner would not come till the 10th round when Kyle Herbster put a wrister up high past Boynton while on the opposite end of the ice McClellan shut the door on Krogman to seal the win for the Bruins.
Austin moves to 31-19-0-6 with the win and now has 68 points. The Bruins are still in fourth place in the Central Division despite being tied with Minot for points. Austin is back on the road Friday and Saturday taking on the Central Division regular season winners, the Aberdeen Wings. Both games can be found on Hockey TV.