by John Peterson
The fourth-annual Paint the Rink Pink event was a big success, as the Austin Bruins (31-17-1) raised money for breast cancer research, and swept the Aberdeen Wings (27-19-3) with a 4-2 win in front of a capacity crowd at Riverside Arena in Austin Saturday night.
Both teams exchanged scoring chances in the opening minutes, with Aberdeen breaking the scoreless tie right at the midway point of the first period. TJ Roo (Coon Rapids, MN) scored his second goal of the weekend on a 2-on-1 that Roo finished off by lifting the puck over the shoulder of Austin goaltender Nick Lehr (Roseville, MN). The Wings led 1-0 after one period, and outshot the Bruins 10-7 in the opening stanza.
Austin tied the game at 10:26 of the second period on the first career goal by Joe Schuldt (Minnetonka, MN), who found a loose puck in the left circle and fired it through a group of bodies screening Wings goalie Chad Catt (Williamstown, MI). Right after the Bruins’ equalizer, Austin’s Brian Bachnak (Riverview, MI) dropped the gloves against Aberdeen’s Drew Doyon (Carmel, IN), which fired up the capacity crowd. Late in the frame, after an unsuccessful Bruins power-play, Drew Anderson (Rochester, MN) gave Austin its first lead on a shot from the corner that ricocheted off of Catt’s shoulder and in. The Bruins carried the 2-1 lead into the second intermission.
Jay Dickman (Shoreview, MN) added to the Bruins lead on the power-play in the third period with a wicked wrist shot from the right circle for his 21st goal of the season. Shortly after Dickman’s goal, the Bruins picked up a short-handed goal to open the lead up to 4-1. Niko Hildenbrand (Vacaville, CA) knocked the puck away from an Aberdeen defenseman with a terrific poke-check at the Wings blue line, which freed up Luke Dietsch (St. Paul, MN) to walk in all alone and Dietsch beat Catt on a breakaway. Erik Baskin (Minnetonka, MN) scored the Wings second goal to cut the Bruins’ lead to 4-2, but it was too little, too late for the Wings. Lehr stopped 19 shots in what was his 27th win of the season. With Brookings’ weekend sweep of Bismarck, the Bruins now lead the division by three point over the Bobcats with 11 games to play.
After the win, the Bruins auctioned off their pink jerseys to fans in attendance, with all the money raised donated to the Hormel Institute’s breast cancer research fund. The team unofficially raised $21,450 from the jersey auction alone, which added to the total amount from other events at the game and around town in the past couple weeks.
Next weekend, the Bruins welcome the Minot Minotauros to Austin for the final time this season for two games at Riverside Arena. Both games will start at 7:05pm and will air online at fasthockey.com, with Saturday’s game also airing on 1480AM KAUS.