Bobcats end Bruins’ seasonPublished 10:23pm Saturday, April 28, 2012
The Austin Bruins went out firing, but when the final horn sounded their season came to an end as they lost game four of the NAHL Central Division Championship Series to Bismarck 4-1 in Riverside Arena Saturday.
The Bobcats (50-15-2 overall) took the lead for good in the second period when Patrick Moore knocked in a one-timer off a crossing pass, but the Bruins made Bismarck earn the win.
Austin out-shot the Bobcats 14-7 in the second period, including plenty of looks near the net, but Bismarck goalie Aaron Nelson stopped all of them as he finished with 29 saves on the night.
“He made some really good saves and he kept the rebounds to a minimum,” Austin head coach Chris Tok said. “I don’t know how he saw a couple of those shots.”
Austin forward Brandon Wahlin said the Bruins were playing with all of the intensity that an elimination game requires.
“We just threw it all out there. We gave them all we got and their goalie just came up big tonight,” Wahlin said. “We knew it might get a little chippy at times and we knew Bismarck would try to get in our heads. We tried to battle through it and unfortunately we just didn’t get the bounces and that’s the game of hockey.”
Austin scored (40-22-6 overall) scored the first goal of the game when Chris Fischer knocked in a long rebound on a powerplay early in the first period, but Bismarck tied it up when Patrick Moore fired in a one-timer on a powerplay.
The Bobcats pulled away in the third period when Buster Hebda knocked in a rebound with 9:53 left in the third period.
“We played hard tonight and they beat us,” Tok said. “They’ve won championships for a reason and they’ve got a lot of veteran guys.”
While the loss is tough for the Bruins to swallow, they can still focus on the fact that they drew 1,778 fans on Saturday and they went from a non-playoff team in their inaugural season to a team that won a playoff series in their second season.
“It was unreal. I felt like I was back in the state tournament,” Wahlin said. “Our fans were great and I just love it here. It’s hard to say good-bye to a lot of those guys but I’m glad I got to meet a lot of them and I’m glad I got to play in Austin.”
Tok said it will be a little tough to move on as the Bruins will lose a lot of players who have been with the team for two years.
“We’ve had our share of ups and downs in the last two years and you get fairly close to individuals,” Tok said. “The toughest part is you have to see the people that you’re close with who are kind of like your family move on. We’ll stay in touch and track their progress and vice versa.”
Bismarck 1 1 2 — 4
Austin 1 0 0 — 1
(A) Chris Fischer (powerplay) (Brandon Wahlin) 8:14
(B) Adam Knochenmus (powerplay) (Daniel Kovar) 15:01
(B) Patrick Moore (Tyler Richter, Shane Omdahl) 1:06
(B) Buster Hebda (Kovar, Mike Dockry) 10:07
(B) Richter (empty net) (Jeremy Okeefe) 19:28
Powerplays: Austin — 1-for-2; Bismarck — 1-for-2
Shots: Austin — 30; Bismarck — 37