AUSTIN, Minn. – In a game that the Austin Bruins didn’t lead until the final whistle, Austin managed to fight off the Bismarck Bobcats in thrilling fashion, winning 3-2 in overtime.
With the playoffs only a little over a month away, the Bruins knew how important this weekend’s series with Bismarck would be. Following the last meeting between the two teams in which the Bobcats swept the Bruins on Riverside Arena ice, it went without saying that the Bruins weren’t going to allow that to happen a second time. The first period started with each team feeling one another out, but if the Bruins were to prevent a third consecutive loss to Bismarck, they’d have to come from behind. Just over five minutes in, George Grannis netted his tenth goal of the season to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
Bismarck’s narrow margin held up until the second period when Josef Mysak rifled a shot from the slot past Bismarck netminder Andrew Miller to even the score. The goal, scored on the power-play, was Mysak’s sixth point in his last four games and his thirteenth goal of the season. With things dead-locked at 1-1, it looked as though the teams would be headed to the second intermission still tied, but Grannis managed to swat a puck about waist high past Bruins goalie Brett Miller to give Bismarck a 2-1 edge with less than three minutes remaining in the period.
Coming into the third, the Bismarck Bobcats boasted a record of 21-1-1-0 when leading after two periods. Austin wasted no time to level the score for the second time, when Dante Sheriff broke down the right side and cut to the front of the night. With a man draped on his back, Sheriff was able to push the puck through the open legs of Andrew Miller. Down the stretch, Bismarck had their chances including a flurry of back-door opportunities, all of which were shut down by Brett Miller.
In the overtime period, both teams alternated rushes but following a partial line change, Hugh Larkin was able to slip behind the Bismarck defense. The Livonia, MI, native took a perfectly placed stretch pass from Tiernan Shoudy and made no mistake when we snapped off a wrist-shot past Andrew Miller to send the Riverside Crowd into a frenzy.
With the win, the Bruins improve to 26-15-2-5 on the season while the Bobcats fall to 28-12-5-3. As for goalies, Brett Miller earns the win for Austin having stopped 23 of the 25 shots he faced, while Andrew Miller was handed the loss while stopping 23 of 26 Bruins shots.
The two teams will meet for the second game of the weekend series on Saturday night and fans can get tickets for the game at any of the Bruins vendors including Games People Play, Hy-Vee, Holiday Inn, and Jim’s Marketplace.