Coming off of a 2-1 shootout victory versus the St. Cloud Norsemen at Riverside Arena Friday evening, the Austin Bruins were looking for their second win in a row and fifth in their first six games of the 2023-2024 season Saturday night as they played host to NAHL Central Division rival North Iowa, and it was a goal from Ocean Wallace early in the third period that proved to be the difference in a 4-3 Bruins win.
Austin’s Alex Laurenza scored the only goal of the first period, his third of the season at 4:52, with assists to Austin Salani, his fifth, and to Gustav Noren, his second. Salani then made the score 2-0 Bruins with his second goal of the season at 5:43 of the second period, with assists to Dylan Cook, his third, and another to Noren, his third. The Bulls cut the lead to 2-1 with a goal from Simone Dadie at 10:01 of the period, but Parker Anderson’s first goal of the season at 11:38, with assists from Alex Laurenza, his fifth, and from Gisuseppe Fiorillo, his second of the season restored Austin’s two-goal lead at 3-1 after two periods of play.
Ocean Wallace made the score 4-1 Austin with his third goal of the season at 3:24 of the third period with an assist to Sam Christiano, his first, but North Iowa would not go away as a goal from Teddy Richardson at 17:45 cut the Bruins lead to 4-2, and with goaltender Connor Graham pulled for the sixth attacker, Justin Mexico’s fourth goal of the season at 19:02 made it a one-goal game at 4-3. The Bulls were able to pull Graham again after the ensuing face-off with :50 left, but goaltender Matthew McArthur and the Bruins defense were able to weather the storm the rest of the way to seal the win.
The Bruins outshot the Bulls 37-28 for the game, with McArthur turning aside 25 shots for the win betweenthe pipes,and Graham kicked out 33 of the 37 shots he faced in taking the loss. Austin was penalized six times in the game for 12 minutes, while North Iowa was whistled for four penalties for eight minutes, and neither team tallied a power-play goal.
With the win, Austin is out to a 5-1 start, and the Bruins will play a home-and-home series with the St. Cloud Norsemen this coming Friday and Saturday night, with face-off at the Municipal Athletic Complex in St. Cloud at 7 p.m. Friday night, and back at Riverside Arena at 7:05 p.m. Saturday evening.