Power surgePublished 11:35pm Friday, April 13, 2012
Bruins power play leads Austin to 2-1 series lead
The Austin Bruins took one step closer to clinching their first ever playoff series, defeating the Alexandria Blizzard Friday night, 4-0 at Riverside Arena.
The Bruins, coming off a 5-0 loss in game two last weekend, powered past the Blizzard, scoring three of their four goals on powerplays.
The Bruins put Alexandria in the hole just over a minute into the first period when Charlie Adams scored on the Bruins first power play at 18:55.
Adams beat Blizzard goalie Michael Bitzer high on his glove side to give the Bruins the 1-0 lead.
“It felt good,” Adams said. “Especially at home. You couldn’t ask for a better start to the night.”
Austin’s night would revolve around the power play. The Bruins had nine power play opportunities, including a 5 on 3 man advantage midway through the first.
It was a rocky set of power plays though that followed the Bruins into the second as Alexandria was able to kill the Bruins’ first power play in the second period.
Austin was finally able to gain some distance when John Simonson scored a power play goal at the 6:20 mark.
“It was huge,” coach Chris Tok said of Simonson’s goal. “Just to get a little bit of breathing room.”
Matt Hansen put the Bruins up 3-0 when he fired shot high past Bitzer, again over his glove side just three seconds into the power play.
“It was huge and came at a great time,” Adams said of Simonson’s goal. “We got those two goals and it felt great going into the locker room.”
While the goals game on power plays it was the five on five play that put the Bruins in the position to make good on their odd-man advantages.
“I thought we competed really well for 60 minutes,” Tok said. “1-0 is not a lot of fun for coaches, but it was our 5 on 5 play that got us the power plays. That was crucial.”
The goals were made even more important after power play misfires in the first and second period that saw the Bruins struggle to not only get shots on net, but even keep the puck in the zone.
“After two periods I told the coaches that this might be the worst our power play has looked as a whole, but we got three goals out of it,” Tok said. “Special teams was a big part of it.”
Austin out-shot the Blizzard 41-27 on the night, but despite the advantage, Austin goalie Tyler Bruggeman still found himself facing down quality Alexandria shots.
“I think the hockey gods were with me tonight,” Bruggeman said of the shutout. “It really felt good.
“The defense did a good job tonight playing up front, giving me clear line of sight,” he added. “You have to credit them. You’ve got to have some help.”
Austin Nelson delivered the final blow with an empty-netter with just 16 seconds remaining in the game after Alexandria pulled Bitzer for the 6 on 5 advantage.
Austin now turns its attention to Sunday night when they can wrap up the series with a win. A loss will send the series back to Alexandria next weekend.
“We have a big one tomorrow night,” Bruggeman said. “We’re happy with tonight, but we know we still have some work to do.”
Puck drops at 7:05 at Riverside Arena.
Alexandria 0 0 0 — 0
Austin 1 2 1 — 4
(A) Charlie Adams PP (John Kirby, Matt Hansen) 1:05
(A) John Simonson PP (Brandon Wahlin, Tyler Bruggeman) 13:40
(A) Matt Hansen PP (Charlie Adams, John Kirby) 18:06
(A) Austin Nelson (Nolan Kirley, Jonathan Gehrt) 19:44
Powerplays: Alexandria — 0 for 3; Austin — 3 for 9
Shots: Alexandria 27; Austin 41