As success comes, Bruins stay on the move

Published 6:38 pm Wednesday, November 29, 2017

After a slow start, the Austin Bruins have moved themselves into the log jam at the top of the NAHL Central Division. Austin, which has won five straight games, is tied with Aberdeen in Brookings for first place with 26 points. But the Bruins are also just three points ahead of the fifth place Minnesota Wilderness.

Austin forward Travis Kothenbeutel said the team is focused on staying in the hunt for the rest of the year, but they have to stay level headed.

“I think we can’t get too high and we can’t get too low,” Kothenbeutel said.

Austin’s Chase Pilawski, who was acquired by the Bruins last week, sneaks past a check by Coulee Region’s Hunter Canestra during the second period Friday night at Riverside Arena. Herald File Photo

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With their success, the Bruins have had to make some moves throughout the season. Anthony Stark was sent to the Madison Capitals of the USHL for defenseman Chase Pilawski, a defenseman who played under current Bruins head coach Steve Howard at Waterloo last season last week. The Bruins also added Levi Stauber, a Michigan Tech. commit and former high school teammate of Austin’s Lane Krenzen at Duluth Marshall on Wednesday.

“Unfortunately the nice part about having team success is it leads to individual success,” Howard said. “Although it was a great thing to see Anthony Stark go to the Madison Capitals, it was fortunate for us to get Chase Pilawski.”

While getting to know new teammates requires effort, Kothenbeutel said the new players have fit in and team chemistry is a strong point for this year’s Austin team.

“It’s like bringing in new family,” he said. “You welcome them and get them into the system. It’s been a great turnaround and the team is really close this year. It’s unbelievable how close the team is. That makes it so much easier for the new guys.”

Howard said more moves are likely to be made in the future for the Bruins as they look to put the most competitive team on the ice as they possible can.

“We’ve got to keep going,” Howard said. “We can’t afford to just sit back and not make the right moves to help kids. We’re in a situation where we’re trying to get guys to the next level, but we’re also trying to win hockey games. We’re hoping that going forward the guys coming in will pull the rope the same way the rest of us have.”

The Bruins will play at Bismarck Friday and Saturday at 7:15 p.m.