The Austin Bruins were back at the friendly confines of Riverside Arena Friday evening after being on the road for two straight weeks for a Central Division matchup with the Minot Minotauros, but in a game between the top two teams in the division, it was the Minotauros jumping out to a 3-0 lead and holding on from there to win 4-3.
Nicholas Sewecke and John Emmons scored the only two goals of the first period to give Minot a 2-0 lead, and Niklas Ketonen made the score 3-0 Minotauros with a goal at 14:55 of the second period before Gustav Noren’s fifth goal of the season, with an assist to Dylan Cook, his eighth at 17:41 of the period cut the Minot lead to 3-1 at the end of two periods.
Sewecke’s second goal of the game, an empty net/shorthanded marker at 17:40 of the third period pushed Minot’s lead back to three goals at 4-1, but the Bruins would not go quietly into the night as just over one minute later, Ocean Wallace’s fourth goal of the season, a power play tally with an assist to Will Diamond, his first at 18:43 cut the deficit to 4-2, and with goaltender Trent Wiemken pulled for the sixth attacker, Austin Salani made the score 4-3 with his sixth goal of the season :32 later at 19:15, with assists to Dylan Cook, his ninth, and to Gustav Noren, his fourth. After the goal, the Bruins pulled Wiemken again for the extra skater, but Minotauros goaltender Brady James and the Minot defense were able to keep the puck out of the next for the next :45 seconds to hang on for the win.
Austin outshot Minot 29-26 for the game, with Bruins netminder Trent Wiemken making 26 saves, and James turned away 23 shots for Minot to earn the win between the pipes. Austin was whistled for four penalties for eight minutes in the game, while the Minotauros were called for three penalties for six minutes. The Bruins were 1 for 3 on the power play, while Minot was 0 for 4.
With the loss, Austin is now 9-3-1-0 on the season for 19 points, and the Bruins are now tied with Minot for first place in the Central Division as the Minotauros are now 9-2-1-0 with the win. The same two teams will meet again at Riverside Arena tonight (Saturday), with face-off at 7:05 p.m.