Bruins win top Norsemen for third straight victory

Published 9:54 pm Friday, January 14, 2022

The Austin Bruins captured their third straight victory Friday night, prevailing in a 6-3 victory over the St. Cloud Norsemen in Riverside Arena.

The Norsemen (15-13-0-1 overall) pulled their goalie with three and a half minutes left and it paid off as Jack Whitemore made it a one goal game with just over three minutes left in the contest. St. Cloud pulled their goalie again with just over two minutes left and that time it did not pay off as Austin’s Austin Salani launched a shot that went three-quarters of the rink before it landed into the empty net to make it 5-3 with 2:03 left.

“They were pushing us all game and we were struggling to find some offense,” Salani said. “Towards the end, we were just trying to have a third guy high, and I had a good crack at the net. I happened to get a lucky one there and it came out well.”

Salani, a rookie from Hancock, Michigan, scored twice in the third period and now has five goals on the season.

“This league has gotten really good with a lot of college players coming back due to the pandemic and all of that,” Salani said. “I’m just trying to be the best player I can and work as hard as I can, because as a rookie, it’s hard to get in the lineup every night. I’m trying to do the simple things well.”

The Bruins seized the lead in the second period when Walter Zacher put a shot through with 7:32 left in the period to tie the game and Matys Brassard crashed through to score to put the Bruins up 3-2 just minutes later.

“We didn’t deserve to outscore them 2-1 in the second period. They outshot us 11-2, but I’ve got to give credit to our goaltender (Klayton Knapp),” Austin head coach Steve Hoard said. “We were not very good in the second period and St. Cloud deserved a better fate. Those goals were timely. Walter Zacher’s goal was a snipe goal and for Matys to break that puck out and score on a two-on-one was huge.”

St. Cloud opened the scoring when Jack Whitemore made it 1-0, but the Bruins tied it up just four minutes later when Anthony Menghini crashed the net to score a shorthanded put-back goal.

Knapp had 26 saves and is now 9-4-1 overall with a saver percentage of just under 93 percent

The Bruins (20-11-1-2 overall) have now won six of their last seven and are in first place in the NAHL Central Division.

“We’ve had a target on our backs most of the year. Guys just understand how to play simple hockey,” Howard said. “It’s playoff style hockey and there are going to be a lot of one goal games and this one was a one goal game before we had a couple of empty netters.”

SCORING SUMMARY

St. Cloud 1 1 1 — 3

Austin 1 2 3 — 6

First period

(SC) Jack Whitmore (Logan Kittelson, Evan Murr) 11:59

(A) Anthony Menghini (Nick Catalano, Xavier Jean-Louis) 15:11

Second period

(A) Walter Zacher (Braidan Simmons-Fischer) 12:28

(A) Matys Brassard (Jack Malinski) 18:49

Third period

(A) Austin Salani (Sutter Muzzatti, Nick Catalano) 9:54

(SC) Evan Murr (Christopher Lynch) 16:44

(A) Austin Salani (John Larkin) (empty net) 17:57

(A) Xavier Jean-Louis 19:52

Shots: Austin – 16; St. Cloud – 29

Power plays: Austin – 0-for-3  St. Cloud – 0-for-3