The long season-opening road trip continues for the Bruins, who will have played a total of eight games away from Riverside Arena before hitting home ice on October 14th. A fruitless weekend in Bismarck has the B’s hungry for points as they invade “the other Dakota” this weekend, with a game in Brookings on Friday and Aberdeen on Saturday night.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR –
Early Season Blizzard: Dan Daikawa’s Brookings squad has repeated last season’s early flurry with seven points in their first six games this year. The Blizzard led the Central coming out of the 2015 NAHL Showcase and found themselves in a similar position this season, behind only undefeated Minot in the standings entering last weekend in which they were swept by Janesville. The Blizzard didn’t maintain their hot start last year, but did sneak into the 4th and final divisional playoff spot.
One Goal Games: It’s hard to believe, but all six Bruins games have been decided by just a single goal. With scores of 5-4, 3-2 (OT), 3-2, 3-2 (OT), 5-4, and 4-3, all six could have gone the other way. With the Bruins having only two wins in those six, it would seem that they are due for a lucky break or two in the near future. Still, it’s hard to believe the one-goal-game pace is sustainable, the B’s played only 21 one goal games all of last season, well below league average.
Langer Takes Over: The Wings made a splash behind their bench in the offseason, bringing longtime NAHL head coach Scott Langer into the fold. Langer won over 430 games as bench boss of the Topeka Road Runners for 12 seasons. He was NAHL GM of the year in 2010 and Coach of the year the next season. Although it’s early, Langer has not found success with Aberdeen, nabbing only two points over the team’s first seven games.
South Dakota Domination: If there were two teams that the Bruins enjoyed playing most last year, it was the Blizzard and the Wings. Austin took six of the eight head to heads against Brookings (including the first four), while winning eight of twelve (with an OT loss) against the Wings. While trends always seem to change year-to-year, the eleven Bruins returners feel pretty comfortable at Larson Ice Center and Odde Ice Center.
Disciplinarians: Although the Bruins were shorthanded seven times last Friday in their 5-4 loss to Bismarck, they’ve been statistically the 3rd most discipline team in the NAHL, at 54 penalty minutes. Only Coulee Region and Shreveport have taken fewer penalties (Minot is even), but with 8 power play goals allowed on 20 times shorthanded, the Bruins PK leaves a little to be desired.
THE MATCHUP –
Central Division Standings:
2015-16 Austin vs. Brookings Head to Head (Bruins won 6-2-0):
10/02/15 Austin 4 at Brookings 1
10/03/15 Brookings 3 at Austin 6
01/15/16 Brookings 0 at Austin 7
01/16/16 Austin 3/OT at Brookings 2
01/23/16 Austin 1 at Brookings 6
02/05/16 Brookings 1 at Austin 6
03/04/16 Austin 4 at Brookings 3
03/18/16 Brookings 3 at Austin 1
2015-16 Austin vs. Aberdeen head to head (Bruins won 8-3-1)
10/23/15 Austin 3 at Aberdeen 1
10/24/15 Austin 6 at Aberdeen 2
12/04/15 Aberdeen 0 at Austin 3
12/05/15 Aberdeen 1 at Austin 5
01/08/16 Aberdeen 2 at Austin 3/OT
01/09/16 Aberdeen 1 at Austin 4
02/19/16 Austin 3 at Aberdeen 4/OT
02/20/16 Austin 1 at Aberdeen 4
03/25/16 Austin 2 at Aberdeen 4
03/26/16 Austin 7 at Aberdeen 5
04/08/16 Aberdeen 2 at Austin 0
04/09/16 Aberdeen 3 at Austin 4
HOW TO FOLLOW THE GAMES –
Friday night is a 7:05 start from Larson Ice Center in Brookings while Saturday night is a 7:15 puck drop at Odde Ice enter in Aberdeen. Both games will be broadcast with live streaming video and audio on FASTHockey.com, with the “AWAY” feed carrying the Bruins broadcast. The broadcasts begin ten minutes prior to scheduled faceoff. Fans are encouraged to watch the games at Hoot & Ole’s (Smitty’s) Tavern (105 11th St. SE), the new official home of Bruins road games. FIND HOOT & OLE’S.
An audio only broadcast will be available for Saturday’s game only on AM 1480 KAUS in Austin as well as streaming online at myaustinminnesota.com. Intermission updates for all games can be found on Facebook and Twitter (@theaustinbruins).