AUSTIN, Minn. – The Bruins battled hard in the final 20 minutes, getting within one goal of the Chippewa Steel but ultimately fell 3-1 in the first game of a home-and-home series.
The first period took some time to get rolling along as each team spent most of their time feeling out their opponents, but when the goal horn sounded it was Chippewa jumping out the 1-0 lead just under eight minutes into the game.
The second period began with the Bruins on the penalty kill for around one minute and 54 seconds, their first of three in the middle frame, but Austin continued their dominance in the PK department killing off each Chippewa attempt. During those three penalties, the Bruins got some of their best opportunities of the night. Andy Willis rang a back-hand shot off the left post, Reggie Millette fired a shot from the slot just up and over the crossbar, and Wills was stopped by Chippewa goalie Josh Langford on a mini-breakaway. With the tension building, the Bruins couldn’t find the back of the net and Chippewa would double their lead to two goals, 2-0, after a Jacob Dirks quick shot off the faceoff.
The third period was where things changed significantly for the Bruins. Out of the locker room in the third, they controlled the play to a delighted Riverside Arean crowd. Connor Mylymok and Millette began throwing the body and taking down any Steel player within a five-foot radius. Through all their banging and clashing, the Bruins were able to pot a net-front battle goal off the stick of Garett Dahm to bring things back to one, 2-1. It looked as though the Bruins would breakthrough and tie the game, but their normally staunch penalty kill was broken when Filip Dusek fired a shot over the glove of Kyle McClellan to ice the game late in the 3rd.
McClellan made 19 saves in the game while Langford stopped 31 for the Steel. The two teams return to the ice, this time from Chippewa Falls, WI, tomorrow to wrap up the home-and-home series.
The Bruins return to Riverside Arena next weekend for another showdown with Central Division Rivals, Minot. Friday, November 30 is Educator’s night where all educators will gain free admission to the game. On Saturday, the Bruins host their annual Teddy Bear Toss with Power 96 benefitting the Salvation Army. TO get tickets to either game, be sure to stop at any of the Bruins ticket partners including Hy-Vee, Games People Play, Holiday Inn Austin, and Jim’s Marketplace. Tickets go on sale Monday at 10am.