CLOQUET, Minn. – For the second straight night the Austin Bruins fell into an early hole, but unlike Thursday, the black-and-gold couldn’t find their way out and fell to the Wilderness 4-2 on Friday.
In a first period that started out looking promising, the wheels started to fall off during the Bruins first power-play of the evening. For the second time this season they surrendered a shorthanded goal to the Wilderness after Jacob Herter beat Bruins Goalie Hudson Hodges to open up the games scoring. A little over six minutes later, the Wilderness added to their lead when Ethan Wolthers danced around a Bruins defender and rifled a shot to the back of the net and giving the home-team the 2-0 lead. As the period went on, the Bruins couldn’t get on the board and it would be the Wilderness who struck again with less than four minutes remaining. Mikol Sartor managed to tuck the puck between the skate of Hodges and the post, and with 3:24 left in the opening frame, Austin found themselves facing a 3-0 deficit. Following the goal, the Bruins opted for a goalie change and swapped Hudson Hodges for Tyler Shea.
Out of the gate in the second, the Bruins were a different team. Whereas Austin registered seven shots on goal in the first period, they managed to fire 17 on goal in the second and their hard work payed off. While on the power-play, Connor Mylymok found his own rebound and back handed a shot past the sprawling Kaleb Johnson and the Bruins had life, trailing 3-1. For Austin’s power-play unit, it was their fifth consecutive game with a power-play goal, an area that’s seen vast improvement over the last several weeks.
The games next goal didn’t come until the 58th minute, shortly after Bruins Head Coach Steve Howard called a timeout. After the face off, Garrett Dahm slammed a shot between Johnson’s pads and pulled the Bruins to within one, 3-2, with a little over 90 seconds remaining. Assisting on the goal was Mylymok and Reggie Millette, the former securing himself back-to-back multiple point nights to start the weekend. For Dahm, it was his second consecutive game with a goal following his two-tally effort in Wisconsin on Thursday.
Despite their comeback efforts, the Bruins couldn’t pull even with the Wilderness and an empty-net goal with 8.4 seconds remaining sealed it for Minnesota, 4-2.
in addition to the improvements on the power-play, the Bruins have also seen their shot counts rising in consecutive games. Following their 41-shot performance on Thursday, they managed 36 shots on Friday but Kaleb Johnson was good on 34 and earned the victory. Hudson Hodges was saddled with the loss but Tyler Shea played strong in relief kicking aside all 15 Wilderness shots.
Up next, the two teams continue their rivalry with the final game of this weekends home-and-home series at Riverside Arena on Saturday, February 20. Tickets for Saturday’s game are sold out, but with three more home games coming in the next week, fans get purchase their tickets to any number of games by visiting www.austinbruins.com/single-game-tickets