AUSTIN, MN – Trailing 2-1 into the later stages of the second period, the Bruins scored three goals in the frame’s final seven minutes to flip the script and eventually complete a weekend sweep of the Minot Minotauros on Saturday night at Riverside Arena. Evan Cholak and Alex Mella each scored in their third consecutive game and Travis Kothenbeutel tied an all-time Bruins record with a three point night.
The first period took a similar shape to Friday’s opening 20 minutes as Minot struck first near the halfway mark. At 9:18, Fritz Belisle jammed home a rebound created from a Taylor Lantz opportunity for a 1-0 Minotauro lead. Also like Friday, it was the Bruins power play that led to the equalizer. At 13:30, a Jaden Shields point shot dribbled off the post and after Dante Zapata only got a piece of the rebound, Xander Lamppa slid the puck under a diving Minot netminder Jack Robbel. The game was tied at one after one period.
Minot jumped back ahead at the 5:18 mark of the second when leading scorer Miroslav Mucha rushed up the left wing and beat Alex Schilling with an impressive wrist shot. The former Bruin Lantz picked up another assist on the play, dropping the puck to Mucha for the rush on goal. The turning point of the game came at the 13:05 mark, during 4-on-4. Evan Cholak’s back-check caused a turnover in the neutral zone and after handing the puck to Andy Willis, Cholak drove the net and cashed his own rebound off Robbel’s initial save. After 4-on-4 ended, the Bruins took advantage of an abbreviated power play. Travis Kothenbeutel fed Dan Petrick’s whose slap pass was redirected home by Riley Doyon at the top of the crease to give Austin its first lead of the game. With under a minute to play, Alex Mella added some insurance, taking a nifty pass from Dante Sheriff from below the goal line and putting the puck up top for a 4-2 lead. Kothenbeutel assisted again, putting him one point behind a tie for the all-time Bruins lead.
Schilling was big in the third period, as Minot came with 14 shots and two power plays, but the Bruins netminder shut the door. With a little over two minutes to play, Kothenbeutel hit the empty net from his own blue line for his third point of the night and the share of the all-time team record with Jay Dickman (now of Bemidji State) at 119 career points.
Schilling made 27 stops for his 10th win while Robbel faced 32 shots, stopping 28. The Bruins jumped back into second place with the Minnesota Wilderness falling again to Coulee Region. They are three points behind first-place Aberdeen with a game-in-hand, which will take place on Wednesday night in Brookings, the first of three meeting with the Blizzard next week. The puck drops at 7:05 from Larson Ice Center and can be seen on HockeyTV, with the AWAY AUDIO button carrying the Bruins broadcast. Fans are encouraged to watch the game at The Bakery Lounge, the official road headquarters of Bruins hockey.