BLAINE, Minn. – The Bruins have two wins in their first three games of the regular season and both victories came by way of a shutout over their opponents, including Friday night’s 3-0 blanking of the New Mexico Ice Wolves.
With Austin coming out on the wrong side of a shutout themselves on Thursday, the team made sure to right the ship in a hurry Friday. Ben Almquist broke the scoreless tie in the first period with his first goal of the year thanks to some tic-tac-toe passing from Dante Sheriff. While on the powerplay, Sheriff and Almquist were able to pull the Ice Wolves defense out of position leaving Almquist wide open to fire home a rocket from the base of the right-wing circle for the 1-0 lead.
In the second period, the Bruins were able to get an even-strength goal but in a similar fashion to how they scored their first. This time it was Cullen Rush leading the way on a 2-on-1 with Barrett Brooks. The two exchanged passes before Brooks slammed home the wrist-shot past the out-of-place New Mexico goalie Josh Graziano.
In the third, Austin dashed any hopes of New Mexico mounting a comeback when Dante Sheriff scored his first goal of the year, snapping off a powerful wrist show that saw its way to the back of the net giving the Bruins a 3-0 lead midway through the final frame.
Thanks to strong goaltending from Zach Hansen who pushed aside 21 Ice Wolves’ shots, the Bruins were able to hang onto the lead and keep the shutout intact to win, 3-0. With the victory, Hansen earned his first career NAHL win in his first and shutout in his first NAHL start.
Every game the Bruins have played in at the NAHL Showcase has ended in a shutout with Austin on the winning side of two while losing one. It was also the first game that Keenan Kelly, current New Mexico Ice Wolves Associate Head Coach and former Bruins Assistant Coach, has gone up against his former team.
Austin improves to 2-1-0-0 by taking down New Mexico who slides to 0-5-0-0. The Bruins are back in action on Saturday for their final game at the NAHL Showcase when they play the Kenai River Brown Bears. The traditional portion of the schedule begins on Friday, September 27 when the Bruins travel to Aberdeen, SD, to take on the Wings. Both teams will face off for a pair of games at the Odde Ice Center before coming to Austin for a pair on October 4 and 5, the Bruins home-opening weekend. Tickets for the Bruins first home games of the season go on sale Monday, Sept 30 at all the Bruins Vendors.