by John Peterson
It’s mid-October, and the Austin Bruins are in their final road trip of the regular season to North Dakota already. The weekend trip started in Bismarck Friday where the Bobcats (5-6-0) snapped a three-game losing streak to the Bruins (6-2-3) that dated back to last season with a 3-0 shutout win at the VFW Center.
Bruins goaltender Zach Driscoll (Apple Valley, MN – St. Cloud State) stopped the best scoring chance of a scoreless first period, as he flashed the glove in robbing an Alex Strand (Roseau, MN) breakaway. Austin outshot Bismarck in an otherwise uneventful first period featuring few and far between scoring chances.
Austin brought the pressure in the second period with several prime scoring chances again Bobcats goalie Alex Bitsakis (Montreal, Quebec), but were turned away each time. Bitsakis made 15 saves in the frame in keeping the Bruins off the scoreboard. Bismarck tallied the first goal of the night on the power-play, when Harrison Aide (Bottineau, ND) knocked in a rebound at 13:42.
Bismarck took advantage of another power-play early in the third as Matt Perry (Lakeville, MN – Air Force) deflected a point shot over the shoulder of Driscoll to make it 2-0. The Bruins had plenty of chances in the final ten minutes of play, but couldn’t solve Bitsakis, who posted a 33-save shutout. Even Geisler (Naperville, IL) put away an empty-netter short-handed to seal the Bobcats win. Driscoll stopped 25 shots in just the second loss of his Bruins career.
The two teams will face-off again next weekend at Riverside Arena in Austin, for 7:05pm starts Friday and Saturday night. It will be the first meeting on Bruins’ ice since Austin won Game 5 of the Central Division Finals last April.
Up next, the Bruins will head up the road to Minot Saturday for an 8pm tilt with the Minotauros. Coverage starts at 7:50 on fasthockey.com and 1480AM KAUS.