This piece is an editorial by Bruins Broadcaster TJ Chillot.
Well, the playoffs are right around the corner if you can believe that! At the time of this article, the Bruins have played 47 of 60 regular-season games and sit tied for third place in the Central Division with the Minot Minotauros. There’s been a number of roster moves over the last couple months, with the trade deadline having come and gone, plus other additions by Head Coach/GM Steve Howard and his staff.
I wanted to take the time to clue you, the Bruins faithful, in on some of those moves and who the fans can expect to see on the ice as the black-and-gold make a playoff push.
Let’s start off with the departures.
TRADE: Kevin Gabor, F, to Odessa Jackalopes
As one of the first of three deadline-day deals, Kevin Gabor was traded lto the Odessa Jackalopes in exchange for other considerations. The 19-year-old Gabor played in 38 games for the Bruins before being sent to Odessa and during his time in Austin Gabor tallied four goals and four assists.
And that’s it for the departures, aside from some other assets which we’ll mention below. So without further adieu, some of recent additions to the Bruins.
TRADE: Corey Clifton, F, from Corpus Christi Ice Rays
Prior to the rush of the trade deadline, Head Coach/GM Steve Howard acquired forward Corey Clifton from the Corpus Christi Ice Rays for other considerations. Already committed to Quinnipiac University (DI), Clifton is on his third team and second league this season. He started the year in the BCHL playing for the Trail Smoke Eaters before finding a home in the NAHL with the Ice Rays. Clifton only played eight games with the Ice Rays before being dealt to Austin and he’s already played more games in a Bruins sweater (9) than he did in Texas. Clifton comes from a hockey family and has two older brothers playing professional hockey. Clifton’s older brother, Connor, is currenly playing with the Boston Bruins of the NHL while his oldest brother, Tim, skates for the San Jose Barracuda in the AHL.
TRADE: Kyle Oleksiuk, F, from Maryland Black Bears
The second of the two deadline-day deals, the Bruins acquired Kyle Oleksiuk from the Maryland Black Bears. Oleksiuk is very familiar with the NAHL Central Division having played with the Minot Minotauros last season. In fact, in back-to-back seasons, Oleksiuk has been a trade-piece of a deadline deal. In 2018-19 he was sent from Minot to Maryland, and this year sent from Marylany to Austin. Since arriving in Minnesota, Oleksiuk has already found his place with the team. In six games played, the Winnipeg native has one goal and two assists – good enough for an average of a half a point per game.
PLAYER ADD: Lyncoln Bielenberg-Howarth, F, Rochester Centrury HS
Welp folks, we have a new leader in the clubhouse regarding the longest name on the Bruins roster. That aside, Bielenberg-Howarth also tops another category – he is now the most local player on the Austin Bruins roster. The forward hails from Oronoco, MN, and has played the last three seasons at Rochester Century HS. While at Rochester Century, Bielenberg-Howarth racked up 123 pts in 73 games played including a monster season this year where he netted 28 goals and added 40 assists for the Panthers.
PLAYER ADD: Josh Eernisse, F, Eastview HS
It’s that time of year when high school season are wrapping up and the best players land on radars of NAHL team’s across the country. Josh Eernisse is one of those players, having lead Eastview in points during 2019-20 with 34 in 24 games play. Eernisse will be welcomed by a familiar face when he sees his former teammate, Zach Anderson in the Bruins lockerroom. The two played together in 2018-19 and were both top-three in scoring on their rosters.
That’s the current state of the Bruins roster, which by the way you can always checkout by visiting the NAHL.com website. There may be some more movement in the meantime, but with the trade deadline having passed, it would only be additions of affiliate players or like Eernisse and Bielenberg-Howarth, high-school players coming off the end of their seasons.
The playoffs are coming, the Robertson Cup is coming! Let’s bring it to Austin!