Although the forecast calls for high 50s and lots of sun, the Brookings Blizzard make their last trip to Austin this weekend, in what sets up to be the most pivotal series of the season for the Bruins. Brookings holds a three point edge over the B’s for the fourth and final Central Division playoff spot – with two games in hand. As the season enters the “fourth quarter” mark this weekend, these two games could prove to be the difference between playoffs or early offseason.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR –
Misiak Movin’ Up: Justin Misiak scored his first career hat trick on Friday night, elevating his point total to 46, and putting him in a tie for 2nd in the NAHL – only Amarillo’s George Mika’s boasting more, with his 50. No Bruin has ever lead the league in points, but a few have come close. Brandon Wahlin’s 69 points in ’12-13 and Jay Dickman’s 64 in ’13-14 each were good for 2nd place.
Man Down: When you’re talking about shorthanded goals in the NAHL this season, the Bruins are inevitably in the conversation. Jon Richards’ goal – the only one the Bruins scored – on Saturday, was their league leading 9th, but Isaac Theisen’s pair – on the same 5-minute PK on Friday were numbers 9 and 10 against – also a league high. Live by the shorty, and die by it.
Rookie Green: The Blizzard have been led all season long by a pair of first year-NAHLers: Paul Cotter and Cade Borchardt. Cotter, a ’99 who is already committed to Western Michigan University, leads all NAHL rookies with 42 points. Borchardt’s a ’98 and is currently the lone 20-goal scorer among rooks. He’ll play on the NAHL Selects team at the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament.
Controlling Destiny: After this weekend, the Bruins only games against the three teams immediately ahead of them come on March 3rd and 4th at Aberdeen. They’ve got six against Minot, four against Bismarck, and two with the Coulee Region Chill. While all games are of equal importance at this point, there are very few “four point swing” games left – games in which a Bruins win also means a loss for a team they’re trying to catch.
Zombies!: Zsmobor Garat will more than likely suit up this weekend, but that’s not what we’re talking about. Ahockalypse will be filming crowd scenes for on Saturday night, so get ready for your closeup! Ahockalypse is a feature film “merges zombies and hockey together at last” and is being produced in part by Bruins owner Craig Patrick.
THE MATCHUP –
Central Division Standings:
2016-17 Bruins vs. Brookings Head to Head (Blizzard lead 4-2-0)
click date for game story
10/7/16 Austin 3 at Brookings 0
11/13/16 Austin 2 at Brookings 3/SO
12/09/16 Brookings 2 at Austin 4
12/10/16 Austin 2 at Brookings 5
12/14/16 Brookings 3 at Austin 2
01/06/17 Austin 5 at Brookings 6
02/17/17 @ Austin – 7:05 PM
02/18/17 @ Austin – 7:05 PM
HOW TO FOLLOW THE GAMES –
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|2/18/17||7:05||Brookings Blizzard||Riverside Arena||NONE||HockeyTV (HOME)||NONE|
Gates open at 5:30 each night for a pair of 7:05 faceoffs. All participants of the Austin Youth Hockey Girls District Tournament receive $5 admission with flyer coupon. Girl Scout Troop 44633 will be selling Girl Scout Cookies near the concession stand. Saturday night is another Mayo Clinic Employee Night and Ahockalypse will be on site filming crowd scenes. Tickets are available for $4 off the door price at our vendors: Hy-Vee, Jim’s Marketplace, Games People Play, and the Holiday Inn.