The Austin Bruins were looking to wrap up the 2023 portion of their schedule with a win Saturday night as they traveled to Mason City to take on NAHL Central Division rival North Iowa in the second game of a home-and-home weekend series, and it was the Bruins skating away with a 5-2 win and a sweep of the series over the Bulls.
Rylan Yates gave North Iowa a quick 1-0 lead with a goal only 1:42 into the contest, but Austin’s Gustav Noren tied the game at 1 apiece with his eighth goal of the season at 3:20, with assists to Isaac Brassard, his sixth, and to Kaden Muir, his fourth, and Brassard then gave the Bruins the lead at 2-1 with a power-play goal at 16:48, with assists to Damon Furseth, his 10th, and to Muir, his second of the game and fifth of the season.
North Iowa tied the game at 2-2 with a goal from Blake Ulve at 9:21 of the second period, but Austin then took the lead back for good, as it would turn out, when Will Diamond lit the lamp for his fourth goal of the season at 10:49, with assists to Furseth, his second of the game and 11th of the season, and to Austin Salani, his 20th. Tristan Zarsky then gave the Bruins a 4-2 lead with his first goal of the season at 13:45 of the period, with assists to Furseth, his third of the game and 12th of the season, and to Jackson Luther, his second, and Dylan Cook’s tally on the power play at 11:31 of a penalty-filled third period accounted for the 5-2 final, with assists to Salani, his 21st, and to Alex Laurenza, his 18th.
North Iowa outshot Austin 29-28 for the game, with Bruins netminder Trent Wiemken turning aside 27 of the 29 shots he faced for the win, while Bulls netminder Dylan Johnson made 23 saves in facing 28 shots to take the loss between the pipes. It was a penalty-filled affair in Mason City Saturday evening, in particular at 9:09 of the third period when a fracas broke out between the two teams that saw a total of 30 minutes in penalties called between three players from each team. The Bruins were called for a total of six penalties overall for 20 mintues, while the Bulls were whistled for seven penalties for a total of 22 minutes. Austin was 2 for 3 on the power play for the game, while North Iowa was 1 for 2.
With the win, the Bruins are now 17-12-1-0-1 for a total of 35 points, good for fourth place in the Central Division, two points ahead of fifth-place Aberdeen with 33 points, while the Bulls are 6-22-0-2 for 14 points and sixth place in the division. Austin returns to action at Riverside Arena next Friday night as they kick off a four-game homestand versus the Bismark Bobcats, with face-off scheduled for 7:05 p.m. that evening.