BROOKINGS, SD – With the opportunity to clinch a playoff spot on the line, the Bruins dominated the Brookings Blizzard on their home ice, 5-2, behind a four-point, hat trick night by Hugh Larkin.
The Bruins lept out to a 1-0 lead less than a minute into the game when Dante Sheriff scored his 24th goal of the season. The Ontario native didn’t think much when he sent in a weak shot towards the net from the blue-line, but the end-over-end puck fooled Brookings netminder Jack Caruso, giving the Bruins the lead just :50 seconds into the game.
Out of the locker room in the second, Brookings made a goaltender swap despite only being down a goal, favoring George McBey in place of Jack Caruso. Austin made sure to welcome him into the game by scoring their second goal of the night, this time it was Hugh Larkin who fired a shot past McBey to increase the Bruins lead to 2-0. Brookings fought back later in the period when Tyler Hinterser snuck free on a breakaway. Brett Miller was able to make the save for the Bruins but after a penalty was called, Hinterser finished what he started by scoring a powerplay goal redirecting a low shot through the legs of Miller. With the game at 2-1, Austin got their two-goal lead back later in the period when Connor Mylymok muscled his way to the front of the net, secured his own rebound in tight, and buried his fourth goal of the season.
In the third, Brooking crept back to within one with Hinterser’s second of the night less than four minutes into the final frame. Austin buckled down and Hugh Larking would score his second of the night less than a minute later. The Livonia, MI, native would complete the hat-trick later in the third period with a confident one-time snap shot from the slot, getting the Bruins their fifth goal of the night and sealing the game, 5-2.
On the night, Larkin registered four points with three goals and an assist, Dante Sheriff scored a goal and added three helpers of his own, while Ben Almquist rounded out the multi-point getters for the Bruins with two assists.
By virtue of the win, coupled with a loss for the Minnesota Wilderness, the Bruins clinched a spot in the Robertson Cup Playoffs. This is the second consecutive season the Bruins will be playing postseason hockey and seventh time in their nine-year history.
The Bruins and Blizzard square off for a second time on the weekend Saturday night when the two teams finalize their home-and-home series at Riverside Arena. Tickets for Saturday night’s game are available at any one of the Bruins’ vendors including Games People Play, Hy-Vee, Holiday Inn, and Jim’s Marketplace.