Down but not out: Bruins drop game one to Wilderness
Published 2:09 am Saturday, May 16, 2015
Billy Exell of the Minnesota Wilderness broke free from the pack, he skated towards Bruins goalie Evan Smith and he put the puck right through the five-hole.
Smith collapsed to the ice for a few moments as he and the rest of the Austin Bruins had to take in the fact that they had dropped game one 2-1 to the Wilderness in four overtimes in Riverside Arena Friday and they would have to regroup and play a do-or-die game two just 19 hours later.
Smith stopped 47 shots in the game, which went past midnight and set a new NAHL record for the longest game ever played. Austin had its chances in all of the overtime periods, but the Wilderness finally ended the game on a breakaway goal.
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“It wasn’t a great game by either team, but it was two evenly matched teams and it’s no surprise it went as long as it did,” Austin head coach Chris Tok said. “Guys could barely move and they were cramping up to where they could barely get over the boards.”
While the physical toll was great on all of the players on the ice, mental fatigue set in as the fourth overtime began. Smith said the key was to stay focused on the task at hand.
“In between periods we had to stay hydrated, but it was pretty easy to stay in there mentally because we wanted to win,” Smith said. “Unfortunately it didn’t work out tonight.”
The Bruins forced the firs overtime when JC Maclean scored with 4:30 left in the third period. The Wilderness scored the first goal of the game when Alex Toscano scored with 3:27 left in the second period.
Tok gave Smith credit for keeping the Bruins in all night.
“Evan was great. He gave us a chance to win the game and it just didn’t go our way at the end,” Tok said. “They got a break and the guy got in and just squeaked it home.”
The Bruins will play with their season on the line in game two 7:05 p.m. Saturday. If Austin can win Saturday, it will host a winner takes all game 5:30 p.m Sunday.
Tok said his team needs to regroup and recuperate before Saturday’s game.
“It’s all about rest. We’ve still got a life left and we always seem to find the hard way,” Tok said. “I don’t know if we could’ve drawn up a harder way to win the Robertson Cup here at home.”
Shots: Austin — 48; Wilderness — 49
Power plays: Austin — 0-for-3; Wilderness — 0-for-1