AUSTIN, Minn. – The Austin Bruins continued their point-streak, improving to three straight games with a standings point, knocking off the Minnesota Wilderness 3-2 by way of the shootout. The win propels the Bruins to wins in two of their first three games this season.
For what might be the final home game at Riverside Arena in quite some time due to the recent restrictions set forth by the state of Minnesota, the Bruins gave their home crowd an exciting game. With the Wilderness not having played in over a month, there were no signs of rust for the visitors who opened the game’s scoring. It was the first time this season that the Bruins surrendered the first goal. Jacob Herter, the Wilderness’ leading scorer coming into the game found the back of the net for the first time this season, propelling Minnesota to a 1-0 lead in the first period. The Bruins got their chances in the first period but were unable to solve third-year goalie Kaleb Johnson and headed to the locker room trailing by a goal.
In the second period, the Bruins intermission adjustments paid off as the black-and-gold came out firing in the middle frame, scoring two goals in the period’s first two and a half minutes. Only 58 seconds into the second, Walter Zacher netted his third goal of the season when he rifled a wrist-shot past Johnson for the Bruins’ first goal of the night. With the game tied, it only took a minute and 10 seconds for Austin to take their first lead of the night when Sutter Muzzatti corralled a rebound and sailed a shot into the practically wide-open net for his first NAHL goal giving the Bruins the 2-1 advantage.
Much like the Bruins did in the second period, the Wilderness struck early in the third period evening the game at 2-2 when Ethan Wolthers beat fellow Californian Tyler Shea. From that point on, neither team managed to find the back of the net throughout the rest of regulation, despite the Wilderness getting an extended 5-on-3 opportunity in the third. In the overtime, the play of the game was a heroic save by Shea who caught a shot off his right hand as he spun in the crease. The save kept the game tied and helped the Bruins into the shootout. After the Wilderness scored with their first shooter, Tyler Shea stood tall in the crease while Barrett Brooks and Alex Trombley beat Johnson for the Bruins’ first win via the shootout this season.
With the victory, the Bruins improved to 2-0-1-0 on the season and slid into third place in the NAHL Central Division Standings. Following the loss, the Wilderness dropped to 1-1-0-1 on the year and remain in fifth place in the NAHL Central. Tyler Shea earned his second win of the season while Kaleb Johnson was saddled with his second loss of the year. Up next for the Austin Bruins, a set of games against the Janesville Jets on Saturday and Sunday, November 21 and 22. Following those games, the Bruins schedule is to be determined as the team deals with the recent shutdowns across the state of Minnesota.