RICHFIELD, MN – Three second period goals as part of a 17-shot middle frame provided the spark for the Bruins on Saturday night at Richfield Arena as they defeated the Minnesota Magicians, 5-1, winning for the first time in Richfield in over three years. The victory also snapped a six game road losing skid and a four game slide overall, moving the Bruins closer to clinching first round home ice in the playoffs.
The Bruins got a goal just 2:06 into the opening period from Dante Sheriff to establish early momentum. Travis Kothenbeutel worked the puck back to the blue line where Josef Mysak waited for a screen to develop and ripped a shot through traffic that Sheriff tipped for his eighth goal of the season. About midway through the period, the Magicians tied the game. Dawson Klein’s shot was blocked in the high slot, but deflected over to Ethan DeStefani at the left-wing faceoff circle and DeStefani buried his team-leading 14th goal of the season. Bruins goaltender Alex Schilling made a key save on Ben Schultheis late in the period while the Magicians worked a power play. Schultheis took a pass from DeStefani and was alone at the bottom of the right circle but Schilling slid across and made a spectacular glove safe while on his belly. The score was 1-1 after one.
At 6:10 of the second period, the Bruins grabbed the lead back when Lane Krenzen sprung Kothenbeutel up the right side, creating a 2-on-1 with Evan Cholak. Kothenbeutel gave it up to Cholak and drove the net to bury the return pass and put the Bruins back ahead. The goal was his 60th point of the season. Less than three minutes later, Kothenbeutel would strike again. With the Bruins shorthanded, Garrett Dahm raced away with a turnover and spotted Kothenbeutel in the same spot as his previous goal and the Bruins’ leading scorer slid home his second goal of the period to make it 3-1. At 18:49, the Bruins would get the dagger goal from Alex Mella, who picked up a loose puck in front of Magicians goaltender Conor Klaers and slammed it home. Assists went to Mysak and Andy Willis. The Bruins held a commanding 4-1 lead heading to the third.
The third period was filled with penalties and with the Bruins enjoying a two-man advantage at 7:48, Chase Pilawski added to the lead with his second goal of the season. Sheriff won a faceoff and fed Dante Zapata, who handed to Pilawski for a wrist shot past Ethan Haider, who replaced Klaers to start the third. For the third time in five meetings between the Bruins and Magicians, 5-1 was the final. Schilling stopped 18 of 19 to earn his 18th win of the season. It was the first win for the Bruins at Richfield Arena since February 6th, 2015.
The Bruins remain two points up on the Minnesota Wilderness for 2nd place in the Central, and have five games remaining in the regular season – one more than the Wilderness. The Aberdeen Wings clinched first place with their win over Minot. The Bruins travel to Janesville for a two game series with the red-hot Jets next weekend.