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Gabor to play Pro Hockey in Europe

The Bruins are pleased to learn that 2015-16 assistant captain Gilbert Gabor has signed a contract with Olimpija Ljubljana of the EBEL, an Austrian professional league team that plays in Slovenia.

Gabor, 20 years old, was the Bruins leading scorer this past season, scoring 21 goals and adding 37 assists in his final year of Junior eligibility. Gabor had two goals and four assists in six postseason games before injuring his leg in game four of the Central Division Semifinals against Minot and missing the remainder of the playoffs.

The EBEL is an twelve team league made up of eight Austrian clubs, plus one each from Italy, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Gabor’s new club in Slovenia.

“Pro hockey is something I always been working towards,” Gabor said. “You play against men and it’s another step up from playing Juniors. As a player you want to develop all the time and this choice felt natural for me and as a good option.”

Gabor played two years with the Owen Sound Attack in the Ontario Hockey League, Canada’s top Junior league prior to coming to the Bruins this past season. He was an immediate force in the NAHL upon joining the B’s, assisting on the first goal of the season and scoring the first home goal. His leadership on and off the ice became a large part of Austin’s run to its fifth consecutive Divisional Finals series.

“Last year with the Bruins helped me a lot where I developed all the aspects in my game,” he said. “I got more experience and went through a lot of new things, bad – my injury – and good.”

Gabor, who is from Stockholm, Sweden, is also looking forward to playing back in his home continent.

“Being in Europe makes it much easier with the travel and seeing family. It’s a really short driving distance to family in Slovakia and Austria.”

Gilbert still has long term aspirations to play professionally in the United States someday, but for his American home in a small town in Southeast Minnesota will always be just that – a home.

“When I look back at it I’m always going to remember it as one of the greatest years in my career on and off the ice,” Gabor said. “All thanks to the people around me.”


Bruins Release 2016-17 Regular Season Schedule


AUSTIN, MN – The North American Hockey League released the schedule for the 2016-17 season on Thursday which will begin with the annual Blaine Showcase from September 21st-24th at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, MN.

The Bruins will open the post-showcase portion of the schedule with a Central Division Finals rematch against the Bismarck Bobcats on Friday, September 30th and Saturday, October 1st at VFW Sports Center in Bismarck, N.D. at 7:15 PM. Bismarck will also be the opponent for the Bruins 7th home opener on Friday, October 14th at Riverside Arena at 7:05 PM. The Bruins see Bismarck more than any opponent in 2016-17, facing off in twelve total games with the Bobcats. The Bruins will finish the regular season in Bismarck on Friday, April 7th and Saturday, April 8th.

Other notables on the schedule include four games with the Janesville Jets (Janesville, WI) of the Midwest Division, the annual New Year’s Eve game against the Minnesota Wilderness, and the Bruins first annual “Healthy Habits Day,” a 10:00 AM game geared toward youth education at Riverside Arena on Wednesday, December 14th against Brookings. The Bruins have eight games against the Minot Minotauros, Brookings Blizzard, Aberdeen Wings, and out-of-division rival Coulee Region Chill. They play four against the newest Central Division member Minnesota Wilderness, as well as four against the Minnesota Magicians, who are now a part of the Midwest Division. The matchups for the Blaine Showcase have not yet been revealed.

With the exception of Healthy Habits Day (December 14th), all Bruins home games will once again begin at 7:05 PM. Single game ticket prices remain $11 for adults and $8 for students and seniors (65+) at vendor locations (Hy Vee, Jim’s Marketplace, Games People Play, and the Holiday Inn), and $15 per adult, $12 per student/senior at the door on game night.

Fans can get their first look at the 2016-17 Bruins next Friday, July 8th at the Tryout Camp All-Star Game, which will be held at Riverside Arena at 6:00 PM. Tickets are $5 general admission with free entry for students and season ticket holders. The Bruins are offering a 30% discount on season tickets from now through July 8th at a rate of $235/adult and $185/student and senior. Fans can reserve seats for an additional $25.



Bruins select three forwards, one defenseman in 2016 NAHL Draft

AUSTIN, MN – The Austin Bruins made four selections in Tuesday’s NAHL Draft, taking three forwards and one defenseman as they selected in the first, second, fifth, and sixth rounds.

The Bruins chose defenseman Peter Zsombor Garat (Budapest, Hungary) in the 1st round with the 11th overall selection. Garat, a ’97 birth year, is an offensive blue-liner who put up 48 points (12 goals, 36 assists) in 58 games with the Seacoast College Prep Hockey Club in New Hampshire this past season. Garat has played in the United States for the past two seasons, spending the 2014-15 campaign with the Boston Jr. Bandits of the EHL.

In the 2nd round, with the 44th overall pick, the Bruins took forward John Wojciechowski (Larmont, NY), who played the majority of last season in the USHL with the Omaha Lancers. Born in ’98, Wojciechowski suited up in 44 games with Omaha in ’15-16, scoring one goal with seven assists. Prior to the USHL, he played two seasons in the EHL, with the New York Apple Core and the New Jersey Rockets.

With the 107th overall pick in Round 5, the Bruins chose forward Cole Lawrence, the Captain of the 2015-16 Eden Prairie High School squad. Lawrence, a ’97 birth year, averaged over a point per game in his senior season, scoring 12 goals with 19 assists in 25 contests. Lawrence was selected in last month’s USHL Phase II Draft by the Des Moines Buccaneers in the 19th round.

In the 6th round (131st overall), the Bruins selected forward Michael Montambault (Ann Arbor, MI) who played 52 games in the USHL between Omaha and Des Moines last season where he totaled six points (3 goals, 3 assists). The ’97 birth year player spent the prior three seasons with the Victory Honda Tier I Elite program, notching a point per game in his final year of U18 play.

The Bruins have an already large protected list, with several returning players and tender agreements in place. All four draft picks figure to have a good chance at making the roster. Main tryout camp and prospect camp will be held July 6th-10th at Riverside Arena, for the first time.

Bruins Prepare for NAHL Draft

As the Austin Bruins prepare for the 2016 NAHL Draft, things are a little different than last season for Kyle Grabowski and his staff. With a full year under his belt, and more than a dozen players eligible to return, it’s quality over quantity for Grabowski this time around.

“We can be selective. What we’re looking for is Junior hockey experience – especially on the blue line and then players that can contribute for us up front. We know we have a good group coming back and we’re looking for guys that can go alongside them. Out of four picks we’ll look for one really good veteran defenseman to bring in and then the rest will be up front.”

The Bruins held pre-draft camp this past weekend at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center in St. Cloud, MN. Many attended, but few will be drafted. The Bruins have only four picks in this year’s draft and with an already full protected list, there aren’t many spots up for grabs. Still, Grabowski was pleased with what he saw.

“I thought it was a good camp,” Grabowski said. “I was surprised with the skill level of some of the younger kids. We had some real young kids who I think are going to be really good hockey players and kids we can start to develop relationships and start the recruiting process with so that’s exciting for me." He also added: "Getting to go to a beautiful facility like St. Cloud State and see their facility, see their locker room. It was a real professional setting so we were happy about the weekend.”

The Bruins have the 11th overall selection in Tuesday’s draft, and will pick in the 1st, 2nd, 5th and 6th rounds. The two new member clubs – the Northeast Generals (North Attleboro, MA) and the Shreveport (Louisiana) Mudbugs will have the 1st and 2nd overall picks, respectively. When it comes to Kyle’s drafting philosophy, the unique environment of Junior hockey is a big factor.

“You always draft the best available player but in Junior hockey you’re talking about thousands of players,” Grabowski said. “You can go in so many different directions. I think you have to look at what your needs are and what suits your hockey team.”

The Bruins have added a new member to their hockey operations staff as well – naming Howie Borden as director of scouting, joining Grabowski, Keenan Kelly and Brad Clayton. Borden, an assistant coach at Bethel University, also worked with the Granite City Lumberjacks (NA3HL) as Associate Head Coach and Recruiting Coordinator. He has experience working in the NAHL, with the Alexandria Blizzard, where he spent three seasons as an Assistant Coach and Head Scout.

“We know Howie well,” Grabowski said. “He’s a good worker. He knows player pools. He’s connected in good circles. He’s got good contacts. He’s another guy like Brad [Clayton] where he’s going to help build our hockey team. We’re looking at bringing some other scouts on in different areas too – Howie will oversee those people, to make Brad’s life a little easier but we expect good things out of him.”

The 2016 NAHL Draft begins at 1:00 PM CT on Tuesday, June 7th and can be followed at NAHLDraft.com and watched like on FASTHockey.com. The Bruins will hold their main tryout camp and prospects camp from July 6th-10th at Riverside Arena, for the first time.

BRUINS ALUMNI REPORT: Sturm, Kielly win USHL Clark Cup

The Tri City Storm completed a three game sweep of the Dubuque Fighting Saints with a 4-1 home win on Friday, May 14th to capture their first Clark Cup in team history. Tri City got major contributions all season and into the playoffs from former Bruins Nico Sturm and Jake Kielly.

Sturm, a native of Augsburg, Germany, played the 2014-15 season with the Bruins putting up 41 points in 53 games, 3rd on the team. He made a successful jump to the USHL where he posted 39 points (14 goals, 25 assists) in 57 regular season games, including a team leading 10 power play goals. Sturm added 3 goals and 3 assists through his first five playoff games before sitting for the rest of the playoffs.

Kielly, from nearby Eden Prairie, MN, played 32 games with the Bruins in 2014-15, going 20-5-6 and took the reigns with the Storm this year, en route to a banner season in the USHL. Kielly posted the 6th best goals against average (2.33) and save percentage (.919) in the league, while leading all postseason goaltenders with a 1.64 GAA and a .950 save percentage, picking up all 9 wins (including 3 shutouts) along the way to the title.

Both Sturm and Kielly are committed to Clarkson University's NCAA DI program. The Storm swept the Sioux Falls Stamplede in round one, topped the Waterloo Blackhawks in five games in round two, and then swept Dubuque for the title. 

Bruins Season Ends Where it Began

BISMARCK, ND – Solag Bakich and Jared Pike each scored twice, while Hunter Shepard made 20 saves, and Bismarck claimed game five of the Central Finals on Monday night at VFW Sports Center, advancing to the Robertson Cup final four. It is Bismarck's sixtth Central Division Postseason title, and their first since 2013.

The opening period was very tight, with each team mustering eight shots on goal. Jan Stefka and Evan Cholak had great scoring chances and were denied by Shepard. Bismarck dominated the second period, setting the tone 13 seconds in when Solag Bakich put a rebound past a sprawling Kris Carlson. In a period where the Bobcats outshot Austin 18-3, Jared Pike's shorthanded goal late in the frame was a big blow, giving Bismarck a 2-0 lead at the second intermission.

The two goal lead was plenty for Shepard and the Bismarck defense as Pike and Batna added empty netters to bring the final score to 4-0. Carlson made 31 saves on 33 shots in the losing effort. Bismarck advances to take on Wichita Falls in the Robertson Cup Semifinals beginning Thursday. Aston takes on Fairbanks in the other half of the bracket.


ALL EVEN: Bruins force game 5

Photo credit: Eric Johnson, Austin Daily Herald

AUSTIN, MN – Heading into the 3rd period all even at two, Miha Zajc scored a shorthanded goal at 5:15 and the Bruins held off the Bobcats, 3-2 in game four of the Central Finals, evening the series and setting up a winner-take-all game five on Monday night in BIsmarck.

The Bruins scored the only two goals of the opening period, starting the scoring just past the halfway mark when Evan Cholak deflected a Marcus Karlstrom shot from the right wall behind netminder Hunter Shepard. At 15:36, Justin Misiak pounced on a Bismarck turnover and set up Jade Miller for his team leading fifth postseaon goal and a 2-0 lead that Austin took into the locker room.

Bismarck was back for vengance in the 2nd period and got on the board at 5:26 when Aaron Herdt's right-circle shot made it's way past Kris Carlson. Continuing their momentum, Nick Alexander scored on a backhanded wraparound at 14:48 to square things at two. The score was all even heading into the third.

A Charlie Spetz interference penalty worked in the Bruins favor when Zajc cashed in at 5:15 of the end frame. After taking a pass from Travis Kothenbeutel, Zajc crossed to the middle with Luke Forfar shielding Shepard's vision and ripped in his second goal in as many days. The Bruins had to bear down after a double-minot for hitting from behind against Jan Stefka, but the penalty kill finished 6 for 6. Austin did well to keep Bismarck from getting a chance to tie it up late and Carlson made 26 saves to earn the win.

The Bruins travel to Bismarck tomorrow and will play Monday night for the 2016 Central Cup at VFW Sports Center for game five at 7:15. Fans can watch the game on FASTHockey.com or listen on AM 1480 KAUS and myaustinminnesota.com, with coverage beginning at 7:05.


Bruins pound Bismarck to Stave off Elimination

Photo credit: Scott Jacobson, Post Bulletin

AUSTIN, MN – The Bruins scored four in the 2nd and three more in the 3rd to rout the Bismarck Bobcats 7-0 in game three of the Central Division Finals on Friday night at Riverside Arena. The Bruins staved off elimination and forced game four right back home on Saturday night.

The Bruins played a strong first period, outshooting Bismarck 10-3 but neither team found the back of the net. About midway through the 2nd, Jan Stefka took a cross ice pass from Jade Miller at 11:07 on a power play to break the double goose egg. Just 14 seconds later, Austin Rueschhoff made it 2-0 off a Luke Notermann feed from below the goal line. Riding momentum, the Bruins added on at 16:20 when Paul O'Connor's shot from the high slot got past Bismarck goalie Hunter Shepard. It was O'Connor's third of the playoffs, matching his regular season total in just seven postseason contests. Less than two minutes later, once again on the power play, Stefka snuck a shot past Shepard for his second goal of the period, and the end of Shepard's night. Nick Althaus played the rest of the game in relief as the Bruins took the 4-0 lead into the intermission.

In the 3rd, the Bruins continued their perfect special teams play when AJ Drobot banged home a rebound at 8:02. Not long after, Miha Zajc took a Notermann pass and made it 6-0. Attempting to run the final 4:30 off the clock, Bismarck's defense held the puck behind their net for nearly the entire final quarter of the third frame, until Patrik Demel turned it over to Zajc, who helped set up Jade Miller for the 7th goal to cap the victory with 17 seconds left. It was a fairly easy night for Kris Carlson, who posted an 18 save shutout.

Game four is Saturday night at 7:05 at Riverside Arena, the final game on Riverside ice this year. Tickets can be purchased for $4 off the door price at Hy Vee, Jim's Marketplace, Games People Play, or the Holiday Inn.



WEEKEND PREVIEW: Bruins Try to Keep Season Alive on Home Ice

Photo credit: Don Boesen, Boesen Photography

With their backs against the wall, the Bruins return home to Riverside Arena in a 0-2 hole to the Bismarck Bobcats, facing elimination for the first time this year. A much more competitive game two didn’t reap any results for the B’s, who fell 4-1, following game one’s 5-1 defeat. The Bruins have won three consecutive games on home ice, dating back to the regular season finale on April 9th, but they’ll have to win the next two plus a game five back in Bismarck on Monday in order to keep their season alive. 



Solving Shepard: Bismarck’s netminder Hunter Shepard has been just as good as advertised through the first two games of the series, stopping 50 of 52 Bruins shots. Named NAHL goaltender of the year and MVP of the Central Division, Shepard’s only blemish in game one was a self-induced turnover that gift-wrapped a goal for Jacob Paganelli. The future Minnesota-Duluth backstop was just as sharp in game two, allowing only a second period goal off the helmet of Travis Kothenbeutel.

Downtown Willie Brown: Brown continues to terrorize the Bruins this year, adding four more points in two games after ten in the regular season. The veteran forward added three assists in game one and the fourth and final Bismarck goal in game two. In the regular season, he set the tone with five assists on opening night, and finished the year with two goals and eight helpers against the B’s.

Carlson Composure: The Bruins hope that after announcing his commitment to play DI hockey at Providence College next season, Kris Carlson can relax a little bit in games three and four. Although he didn’t play poorly over the first two games, the B’s will likely need him to replicate his form from the last head-to-head meeting at Riverside on March 11th and 12th when he stopped 59 of 60 total shots in a Bruins weekend sweep.

Power outage: After four power play goals in round one helped the Bruins knock off Minot, the well has run dry in the finals, going 0 for 6 through the first two games. The absence of Gilbert Gabor, who scored 11 power play goals in the regular season is certainly a factor, as has been Bismarck’s proficiency on their own man advantage, going 2 for 4 and ranking first overall out of all NAHL playoff teams.



Game #







Austin (1)

Bismarck (5)

Fri, Apr 29


VFW Sports Center


Austin (1)

Bismarck (4)

Sat, Apr 30


VFW Sports Center




Fri, May 6


Riverside Arena

4 (if nec)



Sat, May 7


Riverside Arena

5 (if nec)



Mon, May 9


VFW Sports Center



BISBakich (Brown, Wallace) – 0:44 of 1st
BIS – Strand (Demel, Brown) – 13:27 of 1st (PP)
BIS – Mismash (Melton) – 17:19 of 1st
BIS – Herdt (Bakich, Brown) – 1:12 of 2nd
BIS – Strand (Nelson, Fladeby) – 5:31 of 3rd
AUS – Paganelli (unassisted) – 7:21 of 3rd

AUS – Carlson (
13 saves on 18 shots), Goor (3 saves on 3 shots)
BISShepard (25 saves on 26 shots)
AUS – 0 for 2
BIS1 for 2

BIS – Fladeby (Souto, Strand) – 18:28 of 1st
BIS – Wood (Batna) – 1:54 of 2nd
AUS – Kothenbeutel (Drobot, Stefka) – 13:55 of 2nd
BIS – Pike (Herdt, Wood) – 19:58 of 2nd (PP)
BIS – Brown (Wood) – 4:15 of 3rd

AUS – Carlson (26 saves on 30 shots)
BIS – Shepard (25 saves on 26 shots)
0 for 4
BIS – 1 for 2


2015-16 Austin vs. Bismarck head to head (Bismarck leads 6-2-2):
click date for game story

09/18/15 Austin 3 at Bismarck 6
09/19/15 Austin 0 at Bismarck 3
11/13/15 Austin 4 at Bismarck 6
11/14/15 Austin 3 at Bismarck 2
11/20/15 Bismarck 3 at Austin 7
11/21/15 Bismarck 8 at Austin 1
03/11/16 Bismarck 0 at Austin 1/OT
03/12/16 Bismarck 1 at Austin 2/SO

04/29/16 Austin 1 at Bismarck 5 (Game 1)
04/30/16 Austin 1 at Bismarck 4 (Game 2)
05/06/16 Bismarck at Austin – 7:05 PM (Game 3)
05/07/16 Bismarck at Austin – 7:05 PM (Game 4, if necessary)
05/09/16 Austin at Bismarck – 7:15 PM (Game 5, if necessary)



The puck drops from Riverside Arena on Friday and Saturday night at 7:05 PM CT. Tickets are on sale now at Hy Vee, Jim’s Marketplace, Games People Play, and the Holiday Inn and Conference Center for $4 off the door price ($11/adults and $8/students & seniors). Tickets purchased can be used to either game. In addition, unused tickets from round one can be used to either game.

Both games will be broadcast with live streaming video and audio on FASTHockey.com, and audio only on AM 1480 KAUS in Austin as well as streaming online at myaustinminnesota.com. The broadcasts begin at 6:55. Intermission updates for all games can be found on Facebook and Twitter (@theaustinbruins).


Four Bruins Selected in USHL Phase II Draft

Left to Right: Notermann, Paganelli, Rueschhoff, O'Connor

Four current members of the Bruins plus one tender were selected in Tuesday’s USHL Phase II Draft. Forwards Luke Notermann, Jacob Paganelli, and Austin Rueschhoff were all picked, along with defensemen Paul O’Connor and Jaden Shields.

Notermann (’97), a University of Minnesota commit and native of Blaine, MN, was selected fourth overall by the Madison Capitols. Notermann scored two goals and added one assist in 12 games played with the Bruins over the regular season. He was tendered by the Bruins in December and committed to the Golden Gophers in late January.

Paganelli (’97), was selected in the fourth round (51st overall) by the Omaha Lancers. A native of Verona, NJ, he finished third on the Bruins in points with 43 (13 goals, 30 assists) in 49 regular season games. He’s got seven points (4 goals, 3 assists) in five postseason games so far. Paganelli is committed to Princeton.

Rueschhoff (’97), went 93rd overall in round six to the Dubuque Fighting Saints. The 6’6 Wentzville, MO native made a living on the power play, scoring 12 of his 19 goals on the man-advantage. His 31 regular season points placed him fifth on the team.

Shields (’99), was tendered by the Bruins in February after playing two games (January 29th and 30th) with Austin as an affiliate player. He was chosen in the 9th round at 135th overall by the Sioux City Musketeers. From Royal Oak, MI, Shields played most of the 2015-16 season with the Little Caesars U16 team in the HPHL.

O’Connor (96), was chosen by the Green Bay Gamblers in the 13th round (213th overall). The veteran defenseman from St. Peters, MO suited up four times for the Gamblers this season, surrounded by 58 games with Austin. The steady blue-liner also contributed to the offense with 20 points, 17 of them, assists. He has also scored two goals in six Bruins playoff games. O’Connor played 50 games in the USHL from 2012-14 as a member of the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders.

The United States Hockey League (USHL) is the top junior hockey league in the United States, and the only USA Hockey Sanctioned Tier I league. Although drafted by USHL teams, any of the above players who do not break training camp with their respective clubs are eligible to return to the Bruins next season.