Bruins take down their rivals as Quale gets his first shutoutPublished 10:18pm Friday, November 8, 2013
After being knocked off by the Bismarck Bobcats in the NAHL Central Division finals last year, the Austin Bruins were pumped up for their first matchup with the Bobcats this season. But first they had to prove to their backup goalie that they actually liked him.
Bruins goalie Justin Quale allowed nine goals in his last two starts which were both losses, but that didn’t stop Bruins head coach Chris Tok from putting him in the net on Friday when goalie Nick Lehr was a little under the weather.
That’s because Tok didn’t think Quale, who is from Minnetonka, was completely at fault in those losses. Quale proved his coach right as he picked up his first shutout in the last two years and the Bruins bested their rivals 3-0 in Riverside Arena.
Quale saw just 20 shots on Friday after seeing 64 shots combined in his last two starts.
“Our team in front of him played absolutely embarrassing (against Aberdeen) and he played good on Wednesday and the same thing happened,” Austin head coach Chris Tok said. “We literally asked our team if they didn’t like this kid. He played well tonight and I think they answered the question in front of him that they do like him.”
Bruins’ defenseman Josh Bretner, who was recently named NAHL defenseman of the month helped set the tone early for the Bruins as he helped keep the Bobcats (10-4-1 overall) from getting any shots near the net.
Bretner was glad to give Quale his first shutout win.
“Justin’s a great guy. We all love Justin. We didn’t play bad because we hate him or anything,” Bretner said. “We all love him and he deserved that shutout. He works hard in practice every day.”
Quale said he got over any possible nerves he had within the first minute of the game.
“Once I took that first shot I wasn’t nervous and I knew my team would pick it back up from Wednesday. It was actually pretty easy for me tonight,” he said. “I had kind of a rough season last year and I was letting in a lot of goals. It’s nice to get a shutout.”
The Bobcats came into Riverside arena with an aggressive mentality and the Bruins matched it from the start. The first period saw Austin’s Kody Reuter ejected for checking from behind and Bismarck’s Matt Anders was given a 10-minute major for checking from behind just 27 seconds later.
Austin (13-4 overall) also took the lead in the first period when Brennan Sanford slammed in a puck into the open side of the net with 8:24 left in the first period.
From that point on, goals were hard to come bye as both defenses delivered several punishing hits. Austin, which is now 8-0 in Riverside, finally took a 2-0 lead when Trey Dodd scored his first career NAHL goal when he shook off the goalie and put the puck through the net with 11:37 left in the game. Lucas Kohls added an empty netter to put the game away for Austin.
“That was a typical feisty game,” Tok said. “Both goalies were getting mad because you’ve got people in the crease all night long. It was pretty close to playoff intensity out there. It’s great for our guys it’ll make them better.”
Bretner said the Bruins came into the game with the mentality that there was no tomorrow and they were going to leave everything on the ice. The strategy definitely paid off.
“They don’t like us, we don’t like them and there’s bad blood,” Bretner said. “They knocked us out of the playoffs the last two years in a row. There was going to be a battle and we were ready for it.”
Bismarck 0 0 0 — 0
Bruins 1 0 2 — 3
(A) Brennan Sanford (Brian Bachnak, Kody Reuter) 11:31
(A) Trey Dodd (Guillaume Leclerc) 11:37
(A) Lucas Kohls (empty net) (Josh Brenter) 18:07
Shots: Austin — 26; Bismarck — 20
Powerplays: Austin — 0-for-6; Bismarck — 0-for-7