ABERDEEN, S.D., – For the fifth time this season the Austin Bruins and Aberdeen Wings needed extra time to decide a winner but on Friday night, the Wings ended up earning the extra point by winning in the shootout, 3-2.
The Bruins came ready to play in the first period, getting their first quality chance right off the opening faceoff. Barett Brooks broke free and took a perfect feed from Kyle Oleksiuk for a grade-A chance. Unfortunately for Brooks, his shot riccocheted off a foot and never made it on goal, but the quick start set the tempo for the Bruins in the games first couple minutes. That tempo was rapidly halted later in the period however as the Wings scored the game’s first goal, when on the power-play, Cooper Haar buried a rebound past Bruins goalie Brett Miller for the 1-0 lead.
In the second, the Bruins started out hot for the second consecutive period and this time it paid off. Peter Jacobs cleared the Bruins defensive zone and completed a pass to Tiernan Shoudy who raced into the offensive end. Following him stride-for-stride was Jaden Shields and when Shoudy slid a hard pass over to Shields, he didn’t miss, slamming home a one timer on the cross-ice feed to even things up 1-1.
In the third, Austin got their first lead of the game when chaos around the net resulted in Nathan Solis finding a loose puck in the crease and sending it home for the Bruins, taking them to 2-1. Aberdeen didn’t take it lying down, however, as they roared back to even the score only minutes later. On the power-play, a redirected shot from Antonio DiPaolo got through Miller and helped the Wings pull even, 2-2.
The Bruins had their best chance to regain the lead in the third period when Aberdeen’s forward Zach Aughe was assessed a 20-minute game misconduct and 5-minute major for head butting and head conduct on the Bruins’ Barrett Brooks. With the extended power-play, Austin pressured but couldn’t score and the two teams needed extra time to decide a winner.
In overtime, each team forced the goaltender to work, but once again the masked-men stood strong forcing a shootout. Aberdeen began the shootout with a goal in the first round, while the Bruins got a goal from Joe Mysak in the second round. From then on it took five more rounds, seven total, before Aberdeen’s Mack Byers roofed a backhander up and over Miller.
Brett Miller had a strong game despite the loss, turning aside 33 of 36 shots that Aberdeen threw his way. On the other side, Henry Welsch earned the win by stopping 29 of 31 Bruins shots.
With the loss, the Bruins fell to 24-15-2-5 on the season while Aberdeen increased their record to 32-8-4-2. The two teams meet again on Saturday night for the final time during the regular season.
Following this weekend’s game with Aberdeen, the Bruins return home to Riverside Arena for a pair of games against the Bismarck Bobcats. Tickets for Friday and Saturday night’s game go on sale Monday, February 24 at all the Bruins vendors including Games People Play, Hy-Vee, Holiday Inn, and Jim’s Marketplace.