AUSTIN, Minn. – Two third-period goals scored one minute and one second apart led the Bruins to a crucial victory over the Norsemen, 5-3.
Austin took off in the first period and registered the game’s first goal with less than five minutes remaining in the frame. Sutter Muzzatti continued his strong play since returning from an upper-body injury to feed Barrett Brooks in the slot who rifled a shot through past the right-arm of Paxton Geisel for the 1-0 lead. That would turn out to be all the scoring in the opening period with the Bruins heading to the locker room with the upper hand.
In the second, it was all St. Cloud. The visiting Norsemen netted two goals, their first coming just seconds after the Bruins killed and extended 5-on-3 power-play. The second goal for St. Cloud came off the stick of Brett Chorske, his eighteenth of the season. Just like that, the Bruins found themselves in a 2-1 hole to start the third period.
Out of the gate in the third, the Bruins managed to pull even with a goal from Kyle Oleksiuk who redirected a Jacob Malinski shot from the point to even things 2-2. For Malinski, it was the young defenseman’s first point the junior hockey. With the momentum in their favor, the Bruins got some more good fortune when St. Cloud was called for a penalty giving Austin the perfect opportunity to retake the lead. Instead, the Bruins surrendered a shorthanded goal to Nik Hong who fired a shot off the left pad of Hudson Hodges that rebounded right back to Hong who didn’t miss on his second chance.
St. Cloud held onto their lead late into the third period before the Bruins came to life. Austin managed to tie the game with a goal from Carson Riddle who found a back-door rebound and buried it into the empty net. The Bruins continued their comeback efforts when John Lundy registered his eighth goal of the season and the ultimate game-winner. The goals, scored just 1:01 apart, gave the Bruins a 4-3 lead with just 48 seconds remaining in regulation. Just for good measure, the Bruins added an empty-netter off the stick of Garrett Dahm to secure the 5-3 win.
With the victory, the Bruins improved to 19-26-5-3 on the season while the Norsemen fell to 21-30-0-1 on the year. Bruins goal Hudson Hodges turned aside 18 of 21 shots the Norsemen sent his way, while Geisel fought off 39 of the 43 shots the Bruins threw on goal. The Bruins went 1-for-6 on the power-play while also surrendering a shorthanded goal and the Norsemen were 0-for-5 on their man advantages.
Thanks to their win, the Bruins inch closer to a playoff spot, now just two points behind the Minnesota Wilderness who dropped a Friday night contest with the Aberdeen Wings. Up next for the black-and-gold, they take on the St. Cloud Norsemen again this weekend, on Sunday, at the St. Cloud Municipal Athletic Complex. Puck drop is scheduled for 5 pm on Sunday night with the broadcast taking the air on HockeyTV and Power96 at 4:50