AUSTIN, Minn. – Jed Pietila scored the last two goals for the Bruins, the game winner, and the empty-netter to seal the game, while Kyle McClellan posted a 21-save night as the Bruins took down the Wilderness 3-1.
In the first game of a home-and-home series, the Bruins took control right from the drop of the puck. Spending most of the game in the Wilderness offensive zone, the Bruins struck first on the scoreboard with a goal from Dante Zapata, his eleventh of the season.
After a back and forth middle frame in which neither team could solve the opposing goaltender, the Bruins stretched their lead to 2-0 in the third period. Jed Pietila rifled a shot from the center-point that weaved through traffic and beat Wilderness netminder Kaleb Johnson through the five-hole. Later in the period, things got interesting when the Wilderness cut the lead to 2-1 with only 1:01 left to go. With the powerplay, Minnesota opted to pull their goaltender and go six-on-four. Aaron Myers redirected a shot past Kyle McClellan, the Wilderness’ only goal on the night. In the final minute, Pietila added an empty netter for his second on the evening and to ice the game, 3-1 in favor of the home team Bruins.
With the win, the Bruins improve to 25-15-0-6 on the season while the Wilderness slide to 23-19-2-2. The two teams will meet on Saturday night in Cloquet, MN, to wrap up this weekend’s home-and-home series. Saturday’s game will be broadcast with TJ Chillot on HockeyTV and AM 1480 KAUS at 7:05 with a puck drop at 7:15.
The Bruins return home next weekend, March 1 and 2, for a pair of games against the Central Division leaders the Aberdeen Wings. March 2 is Pucks and Paws night at Riverside Arena where fans can bring their dog to the game. To get your tickets to both Friday and Saturday’s game, stop by any one of the Bruins vendors on Monday, February 25. Bruins ticket vendors include Games People Play, Hy-Vee, Holiday Inn, and Jim’s Marketplace.