Austin Bruins win NAHL Central Division playoff championship over St. Cloud 2-1 in overtime Saturday night

After a 5-1 victory in Game 3 of their NAHL Central Division championship playoff series in St. Cloud versus the Norsemen Friday night gave the Austin Bruins a 2-1 lead in the best of five series, the Bruins were looking to secure a division championship for the first time since 2015 at the St. Cloud Municipal Athletic Complex Saturday evening, and Damon Furseth’s first goal of the playoffs just past the 10-minute mark in the first overtime gave the Bruins a thrilling 2-1 win and the Central Division playoff championship.

After a scoreless first period, Austin’s Matthew Desiderio tallied his first goal of the playoffs at 19:06 of the second period, with assists to Dylan Cook, his fifth of the playoffs and to Jack Malinski, his fourth, to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead at the end of two periods.  St. Cloud’s Blake Perbix tallied on the power play at 7:53 of the third period to tie the game at one apiece at the end of regulation time, but it was Furseth sending the Bruins and their fans on hand at the MAC into a wild celebration with a goal at 10:02 of overtime, with an assist to Malinski, his second of the game and fifth of the playoffs.

Austin outshot St. Cloud 39-25 for the game, with Trent Wiemken turning in yet another stellar performance between the pipes for the Bruins with 24 saves, while St. Cloud’s Will Ingemann turned aside 37 of the 39 shots he faced in taking the loss.  The Bruins were penalized five times for 10 minutes in the game, while the Norsemen were whistled for four penalties for eight minutes.

With the win, Austin qualfies for the four-team Robertson Cup Championship series, which will get underway next Friday, May 19th at Fogarty Ice Arena in Blaine.  The Bruins will be the No. 3 seed in the tournament, and they will the No. 2 seeded Maryland Black Bears, the East Division champions at 7:30 p.m., while the No. 1 seeded Oklahoma Warriors, the South Division champions will play the fourth-seeded Minnesota Wilderness, the Midwest Division champions at 4:30 p.m. that afternoon.  The semifinals series will be the best 2 of 3, with games to be played again on Saturday and Sunday, if needed, and the NAHL Robertson Cup Final will be played on Tuesday, May 23rd.