Stefka's heroics cap dramatic playoff clincher

MINOT, ND – Jan Stefka scored at 3:28 of overtime as the Bruins split the weekend and season series with the Minot Minotauros with a 3-2 win on Saturday night at Maysa Arena. In the process, they clinched the #3 playoff spot in the Central Division postseason.

The Bruins allowed the first goal of the game for the fifth straight time when Zach Bross scored the opening goal at 9:42 of the first period. It appeared as if Kris Carlson had made a pad save but he had trouble with the rebound and it ended up behind him for a 1-0 Minot lead. Austin Rueschhoff answered with an unassisted power play goal at 11:34 to tie the game. Minot was putting the pressure on shorthanded but lost possession of the puck and Rueschhoff ended up with a partial breakaway and ripped a shot short-side on Minotauros goaltender Lucas Murray. The score was 1-1 after one period.

In the 2nd, Max Reisinger gave Minot a 2-1 lead with a power play tally at 13:45. Reisinger sat on the top of the crease and snuck a backhand past Carlson. The game then began to get very chippy as Evan Cholak and Jacob Paganelli each fought and received game misconducts along with Minot's Nate Pionk and Chase Springman. Minot led 2-1 after two.

Rueschhoff scored an odd one at 4:22 of the third to tie the score. Miha Zajc dropped him the puck and went to the net, sliding down and seeming to distract Murray, who allowed Rueschhoff's long dump to get past him.

Stefka played hero in OT, taking a pass from Jade Miller, moving in alone and lifting a shot over Murray's blocker. Carlson, starting in his 12th consecutive game, made 23 saves in the win. The Bruins will finish the regular season hosting Aberdeen next weekend before traveling to either Minot or Bismarck for games one and two of the Central Division Semifinals on April 15th and 16th.