by John Peterson
Two days into the NAHL season, two rookie goalies have claimed wins in their debuts for the Austin Bruins (2-0-0). Wednesday it was Zach Driscoll (Apple Valley, MN – St. Cloud State). Thursday it was Jake Kielly’s (Eden Prairie, MN) turn in the spotlight. The 6’3’’ netminder and several rookie teammates led Austin to a 4-0 win over a veteran-laden Keystone Ice Miners (1-1-1) team at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, MN.
For the second straight day, Brian Bachnak (Riverview, MI) found the back of the net. The veteran scored the first goal of the morning at 7:17 of the first period on a backhand from the edge of the crease. Bachnak had five goals all of last year, but added four more in the playoffs during the Bruins’ run to the Robertson Cup Finals. Kielly stopped all nine Ice Miners shots in the opening frame.
Austin added to its lead when Nathan Bastian (Batavia, IL) scored his first career goal on a rebound. A neutral-zone takeaway led to the Bruins’ rush, and Trevor Boyd (Muskegon, MI) delivered the initial shot that Miners goalie Alex Blankenburg (Washington, MI) couldn’t handle. Bastian was there to jam the loose puck in, giving Austin a 2-0 lead going into the second intermission.
Brady Jones (Farmington Hills, MI) snuck what appeared to be a harmless shot past Blankenburg for his first career goal to make it 3-0 at 5:20 of the third. Then Alex Pettersson (Ockero, Sweden) added a short-handed goal to open the Bruins lead to 4-0. Kielly stopped all 26 Miners shots in the shutout, as Austin cruised to victory.
Austin will get another crack at a North Division team Friday, when the Bruins face the Johnstown Tomahawks at 4:30pm here in Blaine. Catch the action on fasthockey.com, with coverage starting at 4:20.