Bruins take a 2-0 series lead on Minot

Published 10:51 pm Friday, April 21, 2023

The Austin Bruins came out fast as they seized a 2-0 series lead over Minot when they beat the Minotauros 4-2 in game two of the NAHL Central Division semifinals in Riverside Arena Saturday.

The bruins scored twice in the first six minutes of the game as Jack Malinski and Austin Salani got the party started and Walter Zacher added his third goal of the weekend to make it 3-1 after one period.

Austin just needs to win one of two this weekend in Minot to advance to the NAHL Central finals. Game three is Friday at 7:35 p.m.

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Trent Wiemken stopped 29 shots in net for Austin.

Austin 4, Minot 3 (OT)

The Austin Bruins overcame a gigantic letdown in the third period to beat the Minot Minotauros 4-3 in overtime in game one in Riverside Arena Friday night.

Austin held a 3-1 lead late in the third when Minot’s Braden Fischer and Chase LaPinta each scored in a 31-second stretch to tie the game. Fischer scored on a power play where Minot had pulled their goalie and LaPinta scored an even strength goal.

Despite watching a two-goal lead disappear in an instant, the Bruins didn’t take any bad mojo into the locker room for intermission.

“We definitely didn’t panic,” said Bruins captain Gavin Morrissey, who had two assists. “There are a lot of ups and downs in the playoffs and you’ve got to stay even keeled.”

The calmness paid off for the Bruins when they were the aggressors in OT and Austin won the game when Jackson Luther slapped in a shot right in front of the net on a pass from Bryan Gillman.

“Their D kind of slid over and I was kind of wide open in the middle,” Luther said. “I can’t think of a better goal (in my career) off the top of my head. That one topped it. Gavin Morrissey

Luther, a forward from Columbia City, Indiana, had 14 points in 44 games in the regular season for Austin and Morrissey was glad to see him have his chance.

“Jackson has been working hard and I don’t think there’s anyone who deserves it more,” Morrissey said. “He’s been going through it lately and it’s a really great accomplishment.”

Luther said he never stopped working hard, even when he wasn’t getting on the ice.

“It’s been on and off. I’ve had some scratches and I’ve been doing as much as I can to stay in the lineup,” Luther said. “I’ve played defense and helped the team as much as I can.”

Minot had a chance to take a one goal lead in the second period, but Austin goalie Trent Wimeken came up big and stopped Minot’s Kolby Amaci on a penalty shot with 9:57 left in the first period.

It was the Bruins who eventually took a 2-1 lead when Walter Zacher slapped in a power play goal on an assist from Josh Giuliani with 1:10 left in the period.

The Bruins were on their heels for much of the night as they were at a two man disadvantage for three separate one-minute stretches in the first two periods. 

Austin lost Nate Looft to an ejection for cross checking near the end of the first period and the Bruins were hit with a total of 10 penalties for 43 minutes on the night. Minot was penalized seven times for 35 minutes.

“There’s obviously going to be things that don’t go your way and part of winning games is not being too emotional and being able to battle through adversity,” Morrissey said.  “That’s what we did tonight.”

Wiemken finished with 31 saves for the Bruins.

Saturday’s game


Minot 1 0 1 – 2

Austin 3 1 0 – 4

First period

(A) Jack Malinski (power play) (Ocean Wallace, Damon Furuseth) (power play) 3:33

(A) Austin Salani (Gavin Morrissey, James Goffredo) (power play) 5:58

(M) Braden Fischer (Trevor Stachowiak, Chase LaPinta) (power play) 9:08

(A) Walter Zacher (Salani) 19:17

Second period

(A) Josh Giuliani (Morrissey, Zacher) (power play) 15:08

Third period

(M) LaPinta 17:55

Shots: Austin – 30; Minot – 29

Power plays: Austin 3-for-6, Minot – 1-for-5

Friday’s game


Minot 0 1 2 0 – 3

Austin 1 1 1 1 – 4

First period

(A) James Goffredo (Walter Zacher, Dylan Cook) (power play) 8:41

Second period

(M) Hunter Longhi (Weston Knox, Chase LaPinta) (power play) :48

(A) Walter Zacher (Josh Giuliani, Gavin Morrissey) 18:50

Third period

(A) Walter Zacher (Gavin Morrissey, Dylan Cook) (power play) 13:43

(M) Braden Fischer (Trevor Stachowiak, Weston Knox) (power play) 18:02 

(M) Chase LaPinta (Knox) 18:33


Jackson Luther (Bryan Gilman) 4:35

Shots: Austin – 30; Minot – 34

Power plays: Austin – 3-for-4; Minot – 2-for-8