Although this week marks the third in the last four with three games in it, the Bruins find themselves faced with their only “3 games in 3 days” set of the season (outside of the NAHL Showcase when all teams play 4 in 4), traveling to La Crosse on Thursday, and then beginning a home-and-home with Brookings on Friday at Riverside. They’ll finish the first half with three more games next week, capped by a December 16th-17th trip to Bismarck.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR –
Young King Cole: What a weekend it was for Cole Lawrence, who had gone the first 15 games of his NAHL career with only three points – all assists. The ever-improving forward scored his first goal on Friday, the Bruins’ fourth in a 6-4 win, and then followed it up with the “Teddy Bear Toss” goal on Saturday. For his achievements, Lawrence was named the Central Division’s First Star of the Week, following up Justin Misiak’s win a week ago.
Ridiculous Road Record: While most people would call it a fluke, the numbers are so staggering that it is worth pointing out: Dating back to the start of the last season, the road team is a combined 9-0-1 in the head-to-head between the Bruins and Coulee Region Chill. Austin went 3-0-1 at Green Island Ice Arena last season while the Chill went 4-0-0 at Riverside. This season, the road team is already 2-0, with the Bruins winning in La Crosse on Oct. 22nd and the Chill coming to Riverside for a 6-5 OT victory on November 12th.
Keane Eye: As Zsombor Garat heads home to Hungary for World Junior Championships, the Bruins add 6’2, 181-pound defenseman Tom Keane to the roster. The native of Homer Glen, IL dressed in 29 games for Kenai River last season before playing in Austria and then Canada (Carleton Place Canadians, CCHL). He originally played for the Chicago Fury program and later, Team Illinois.
USHL Callups: Goalie Jake Kucharski and forward AJ Drobot will get a chance to play in the USHL for the next few weeks, leaving big holes in the Bruins lineup, but opening up playing time for others. Drobot will dress for the Fargo Force, while Kucharski will join the Des Moines Buccaneers, with whom he spent part of the pre-season.
Big Blizzard Battle: The two-game set with the Blizzard is even bigger than it may seem, with the Bruins trailing Brookings by four points in the Central Division standings. The Blizzard will own a game in hand (one fewer game played) after the Bruins play Thursday. There will still be four head-to-heads remaining after this weekend, three of them in Austin.
THE MATCHUPS –
Central Division Standings:
Midwest Division Standings:
2016-17 Bruins vs. Chill Head to Head (Bruins lead 1-0-1)
click date for game story
10/22/16 Austin 5 at Coulee Region 2
11/12/16 Coulee Region 6/OT at Austin 5
12/08/16 @ Coulee Region – 7:00 PM
01/14/16 @ Austin – 7:05 PM
02/10/17 @ Austin – 7:05 PM
02/11/17 @ Coulee Region – 7:00 PM
03/24/17 @ Coulee Region – 7:00 PM
03/25/17 @ Austin – 7:05 PM
2016-17 Bruins vs. Brookings Head to Head (Bruins lead 1-0-1)
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 vs. Brookings – 7:05 PM
12/10/16 @ Brookings – 7:05 PM
12/14/16 @ Austin – 10:00 AM
01/06/17 @ Brookings – 7:05 PM
02/17/17 @ Austin – 7:05 PM
02/18/17 @ AUstin – 7:05 PM
HOW TO FOLLOW THE GAMES –
Thursday, 12/8 @ Coulee Region Chill: 7:00 PM at Green Island Ice Arena – La Crosse, WI
Friday, 12/9 vs. Brookings Blizzard: 7:05 PM at Riverside Arena – Austin, MN
Saturday, 12/10 @ Brookings Blizzard: 7:05 PM at Larson Ice Center – Brookings, SD
Fans are encouraged to watch Thursday and Saturday night’s game at Hoot & Ole’s Tavern: the official home of Bruins road games, located at 105 11th St. SE.
Gates open at 6:00 on Friday night at Riverside. The Bruins will be raffling off a Craftsman 24” snow blower, courtesy of Sears Hometown Store. Fans can purchase raffle tickets for $5 each or 5 for $20. Fans can visit Hy-Vee, Games People Play, Jim’s Marketplace, or the Holiday Inn Austin for discounted game tickets.
All three games will be broadcast with live video and audio on HockeyTV.com with the “AWAY” feed carrying the Bruins broadcast on Thursday and Saturday, and the “HOME” feed on Friday. Saturday’s game in Brookings will also be carried on the radio at AM 1480 KAUS or online at myaustinminnesota.com. Pregame coverage begins 10 minutes prior to puck drop.