Photo credit: Eric Johnson, Austin Daily Herald
AUSTIN, MN – In a game that followed a similar pattern to the one before it, the Bruins defeated the Minnesota Wilderness, 3-1 on Saturday night at Riverside Arena. The win gave them a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-5 series, which now shifts to Cloquet.
The Bruins struck first for the second night in a row, but this time much earlier. After Wilderness defenseman Andrew Troy was called for cross-checking at 5:20, Dan Petrick buried a puck in a high slot set up by Evan Cholak and Travis Kothenbeutel at 6:53 for the opening goal. Petrick led all NAHL defensemen in power play goals during the regular season. The Bruins led 1-0 after one period.
Just 34 seconds into the second period, Austin doubled their lead when Ian Mageau took the puck down the right-wing and slid it to Alex Mella for a tap-in at the near post. It was Mella’s second goal of the series. Lane Krenzen picked up the secondary assist. Continuing to mimic game one, the score remained 2-0 at the second intermission.
At 5:10 of the third, the Wilderness got on the board. With Nick Altmann and Isaac Moberg working below the goal-line, Landon Langenbrunner (son of longtime NHLer Jamie) ripped home a one-timer under the cross bar to make it a 2-1 game. From there, each team had a power play chance late, but both came up empty. Alex Schilling was once again a huge part of the game, stopping 29 of 30 in all and at 19:45, Lane Krenzen’s center ice launch caromed off Gino Lucia and into the empty net to seal a 3-1 victory.
The losing netminder was Jacob Sibell who stopped 30 of 32. Game three, which is now a must-win for the Wilderness, will take place on Friday night at Northwoods Credit Union Arena in Cloquet at 7:05 PM. Game four, if necessary would be in the same building on Saturday.