Twice the Austin Bruins (28-11-1) fell behind by a goal, and twice the Bruins answered with a short-handed goal to tie the game. The Bruins scored the game-winner in the final minute of regulation in a 3-2 victory over the Brookings Blizzard (11-24-7) to complete a weekend sweep Saturday night at Riverside Arena in Austin.
For the second night in a row, Brookings jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, when Jeff Flicker (Long Beach, CA) cleaned up a rebound in front of the Bruins net at 1:38 of the opening period. The Blizzard outshot the Bruins 10-3 in the frame, but Austin tied the game in the final minute when Sam Kauppila’s (Gurnee, IL) wrist shot snuck through the five hole of Blizzard goalie Austin Priebe (Wausau, WI) for a short-handed goal to send the teams into the first intermission tied 1-1.
The second period lasted nearly a full hour of actual time, as the Bruins and Blizzard proved once again that they don’t like each other. An early fight involving two players from each side resulted in 50 penalty minutes in the first 20 seconds of the period and three ejections. During a four-on-four, Evan Hesse (Monticello, MN) carried the puck into the Bruins’ zone on the right wing and beat Nick Lehr (Roseville, MN) five-hole on a shot from the circle to put Brookings back in front. There were 68 combined penalty minutes in the middle frame, and the Blizzard lead 2-1 after two.
The Bruins scored their second short-handed goal of the game in the third period, when Eli May (Eagan, MN) floated a shot on net from the left point that fooled Priebe and tied the game at 2-2. As the game went down to the wire with overtime on the horizon, an errant clearing attempt by a Brookings defenseman led to a takeaway by Guillaume Leclerc (Franois, France) deep in the Blizzard zone. Leclerc centered for Jay Dickman (Shoreview, MN) who fired home the game-winner from the slot with 59 seconds left in regulation for his 100th career point as a Bruin. Lehr stopped 23 shots for his 24th win of the season.
Next weekend, the Bruins will host the Bismarck Bobcats for two games at Riverside Arena, before the team heads to Alaska for ten days on February 6th. Austin and Bismarck will face-off at 7:05pm both Friday and Saturday night, and the games can be seen on fasthockey.com. Saturday’s game can also be heard on 1480AM KAUS in Austin.