by John Peterson
Perfection. That one word best described the Austin Bruins’ (25-12-2) special teams Friday night in a 5-3 win over the Aberdeen Wings (22-13-2) at Riverside Arena in Austin. The Bruins’ power-play was a perfect three-for-three, and the team killed off all four penalties, overcoming a 2-0 deficit in the comeback win.
The first ten minutes of the hockey game was somewhat of a feeling out period, as both teams struggled to get anything going in the offensive end. Jordan Heller (Bemidji, MN) put Aberdeen on the board at 11:04 of the first frame, as he found the loose puck in the middle of a goal-mouth scramble and beat Bruins goalie Nick Lehr (Roseville, MN). With just under five minutes to play in the period, Austin Swingle (Sartell, MN) fought his way around a Bruins defender and shoveled the puck past Lehr to give the Wings a 2-0 lead at the first intermission.
The tides turned in the second period, when the Bruins got on the scoreboard on the power-play at 8:31. Alex Pettersson (Ockero, Sweden) took the initial shot from low in the left circle and the rebound bounced out to Jay Dickman (Shoreview, MN), who picked up his 17th goal of the season. Drew Anderson (Rochester, MN) tied the game just over a minute later on a diving effort in front Wings goaltender Chat Catt (Williamstown, MI). The Bruins took their first lead at 10:46 of the middle frame, when Austin Nelson (Hastings, MN) capitalized on another juicy rebound from Catt that was kicked out to Nelson in the left circle. Aberdeen tied the game at 3-3 when a bouncing puck in the Bruins slot wound up on the tape of TJ Roo (Coon Rapids, MN), who swatted the shot past a caught-off-guard Lehr. Austin took the lead again on a late power-play, when Pettersson sent a missile of a wrist shot into the net from the point for his first career goal.
With the Bruins leading at the outset of the third period, Luke Dietsch (St. Paul, MN) notched Austin’s third power-play goal of the game on a backdoor feed from Sam Kauppila (Gurnee, IL) to make it 5-3. The Bruins were perfect on special teams, and outshot the Wings 46-33 in the game. Lehr picked up his 23rd win of the year, making 30 saves in the process, as Catt stopped 41 shots in the loss.
The Bruins and Wings will complete the weekend series Saturday night at Riverside Arena in Austin, with puck drop scheduled for 7:05pm. It’s Austin Youth Hockey Night, as the town’s youngsters will skate with the Bruins players after the game. 1480AM KAUS will carry the game on the radio, and fasthockey.com will have the internet broadcast.