The Bruins returned from Christmas break and got off to a great start to the 2nd half by sweeping a home-and-home with their one-time Robertson Cup nemesis Minnesota Wilderness, but have proceeded to lose three of the next four, and now overall 7 of 10. A pair of tight games with Midwest foes last weekend that both fell into the loss column has the Bruins hoping another tussle with the Wilderness will be just the medicine they need to get back on track.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR –
Home Cooking: Friday’s game kicks off a stretch of 8 of the next 10 games at Riverside, with the only road trips being in-state to Cloquet and just down I-90 to La Crosse. The Bruins have been a much better team at home, with a 10-6-1 record (including 2-0-0 at the NAHL Showcase), as opposed to their 6-10-3 mark away from Riverside.
The Mighty Quinn: Added to the Bruins roster this week was forward Quinn Martin, a ’99 from Sante Fe, New Mexico. Martin had been playing in the WHL (Western Hockey League) with the Red Deer Rebels (Alberta, Canada) where although he went pointless in 20 games, Kyle Grabowski has high hopes for him: “He’s a young kid who needed some more playing time. First experience in Junior, it’s a growing experience and he didn’t grow quite as quickly as they wanted in that league. He’s got a really good skill set. He’s got some size, he needs to fill out a bit more and he plays with a little bit of sandpaper. We think he’s going to turn into a very, very good hockey player, it’s just a matter of time so we’re excited about him.”
Slim Standings: The gap between 2nd place and 6th (last) place in the Central has shrunk to just seven points following last weekend’s results. The Bruins currently hold down the fourth and final playoff spot by just three points over both Aberdeen and Bismarck, but could finish the weekend as high as second if they sweep the Wilderness in regulation. Brookings and Aberdeen have two games in hand on the rest of the field in the division.
Where the Wild Things Are: The Wilderness will finish a six-game road trip on Friday at Riverside before starting a five game home-stand on the other side of the home-and-home Saturday night. The Wilderness possess one of the worst home records in the league, with just 6 wins in 13 games at Northwoods Credit Union Arena.
THE MATCHUPS –
Central Division Standings:
2016-17 Bruins vs. Wilderness Head to Head (Bruins lead 2-0-0)
click date for game story
12/30/16 Bruins 5 at Wilderness 4/OT
12/31/16 Wilderness 3 at Bruins 4
01/20/17 @ Austin – 7:05 PM
01/21/17 @ MN Wilderness – 7:05 PM
HOW TO FOLLOW THE GAMES –
|1/20/17||7:05||MN Wilderness||Riverside Arena||NONE||HockeyTV (HOME)||NONE|
|1/21/17||7:05||MN Wilderness||Northwoods CU Arena||Hoot & Ole’s||HockeyTV (AWAY)||AM 1480 KAUS|
Gates open at 6:00 on Friday night at Riverside for a 7:05 faceoff. All players, coaches, and families of the Austin Packer Classic Girl’s Tournament will receive $5 tickets at the door with an accompanying flyer. A postgame skate with the Bruins will take place after the game for Tournament players only. General admission tickets can be purchased at Hy-Vee, Games People Play, Jim’s Marketplace, or the Holiday Inn Austin to save $4 off the door price.
Saturday’s game is also a 7:05 faceoff from Northwoods Credit Union Arena in Cloquet and will be broadcast on HockeyTV (AWAY feed) and also on the radio at AM 1480 KAUS and myaustinminnesota.com. The official home of Bruins away games, Hoot & Ole’s, will be airing the game as usual, with a special appearance by Bruiser’s Pink Jersey – which will be raffled off on Paint the Rink Pink Night (February 10th) and also a ticket giveaway for a pair of tickets to the Saturday, January 28th game vs. Janesville.