AUSTIN, Minn. – For the first time this season the Austin Bruins hosted the Minot Minotauros at Riverside Arena but unfortunately for the black-and-gold, the visiting team came out on top with an overtime win 4-3.
The action kicked off almost immediately on Friday night with the game’s first goal coming just 36-seconds into the game. As Minot rushed into the zone, forward Brett Roloson attempted to feed a pass through the slot but getting a stick on the puck was Bruins defenseman Ben Dexheimer. What originally looked like a great defensive stand, Dexheimer’s block betrayed him and redirected the pass came in on goal slipped through the legs of Tyler Shea for the 1-0 Minot lead. A little over two-and-a-half minutes after the goal, the fireworks continued but in the form of a fight. Braidan Simmons-Fischer and Max Bogdanovich renewed their rivalry which started last December in Minot with Simmons-Fischer getting the better of Bogdanovich. In the process, Simmons-Fischer was handed a 20-minute misconduct which put an end to his night and left the Bruins down a forward for the remainder of the game
In the second, Austin came battling back and evened things up just under four minutes in. Kyle Oleksiuk registered his second goal in less than a week with a shot from just above the left circle that ramped over the shoulder of Minot goalie Carter Clafton. The two teams didn’t stay tied for long, with the ‘Tauros retaking their lead a minute and 20 seconds later off the stick of Cade Stibbe.
It wasn’t until the third period that the Bruins managed to level the score when Ben Dexheimer skated coast-to-coast, maneuvering around two Minot defenders, and beat Clafton on a highlight-reel goal. With the score 2-2, the Bruins took their first lead of the night with just over six minutes remaining while on the power-play. With it being just their second man-advantage of the night, the Bruins wasted no time getting their tally. Nine seconds after the start of the infraction, Barrett Brooks notched his team-leading 13th goal of the game and gave Austin their first lead of the night, 3-2. Late in the period, however, Bruins forward Reggie Millette was called for holding which allowed the ‘Tauros to mount a comeback. With the goaltender pulled, putting Minot in a six-on-four situation, Damon Zimmer beat Shea to even the game at three goals apiece with just a minute and ten seconds left in regulation. Following the goal, overtime was needed and it was the Minotauros power-play that once again proved to be the Bruins Achilles heel.
Off the opening draw of the extra period, Brooks committed a slashing call just seven seconds in. Just under a minute-and-a-half later, Tyler Kostelecky buried the game-winner for Minot.
With the loss, the Bruins slipped back to 12-21-2-3 on the season with two of their three losses in overtime coming against the Minotauros. Minot on the other hand improved to 17-17-4-1 on the season. Tyler Shea was the losing goaltender in the game stopping 22 of 26 shots while Carter Clafton earned his first NAHL win stopping 32 of 35 Bruins’ shots. Austin managed to go one-for-two on the power-play while killing three of five penalty kill opportunities.
The two teams meet again on Saturday night for the fourth time of the season, Austin looking for their first win against their divisional rivals. Tickets for the encore are on-sale now by visiting www.austinbruins.com/single-game-tickets.