Bruins win Game 5 to advance to Robertson Cup Semis
May 4, 2015
Central Division Finals (Austin wins series, 3-2)
Game 5: Minot 3 @ Austin 4 – The Austin Bruins became the 4th and final team to punch their ticket to the Robertson Cup Semi-Finals thanks to a 4-3 win at home in Game 5 on Monday night over the Minot Minotauros. It is the second straight season that the Bruins will make an appearance in the NAHL’s final four. Last season, the Bruins defeated Topeka in the Semi-Finals to advance to the Robertson Cup Finals, where they lost to the Fairbanks Ice Dogs.
The Bruins got off to the start they wanted as midway through the 1st period some action in front of the Minot net gave the Bruins their first goal of the contest as Luke Dietsch poked home a loose rebound after a shot deflected off the post past a sprawled Minot goalie Atte Tolvanen. Less than three minutes later, Minot would even the score as a shot from the point was saved by Austin goalie Jake Kielly, but the rebound went directly to Tim Athley, who slid home a backhand shot to tie the game at 1-1.
The 2nd period was all Bruins, which turned out to be the difference in the game. The Bruins took a 2-1 lead midway through the period as Nico Sturm scored his 6th goal of the playoffs. Some nice work by Brian Bachnak in the Minot zone turned the puck over and Bachnak sent a shot in on goal that was redirected by Sturm past Tolvanen. Bachnak again would set up the next Austin goal, this time on the power play. Bachnak set up behind the Minot net and sent a pass in front and on the far post Josh Wilkins smashed home the nice pass for a 3-1 lead. On the next Austin goal, as pass up the nice proved to be difficult for the Minot defense to handle as Bachnak again figured in the scoring as he picked up the turnover and walked in on Tolvanen, who originally made the save, but Trevor Boyd was there for the rebound to put home a shot for a 4-1 lead for the Bruins after two periods.
Minot would not lie down however, as they made it a contest in the 3rd period. Just over three minutes into the final frame some nice pressure in the Austin zone sent the puck towards the net. After Kielly could not control the rebound, Nick Monfils was able to bank a shot from the goal line off of Kielly and into the back of the next for a 4-2 game. Less than three minutes later, Minot cut the Austin lead to one as a nice keep in from the point from Jon Lizotte sent the puck to the net. After a redirection and save by Kielly, Johnny Walker picked up the loose puck and pushed it past Kielly to make it 4-3. Minot had a late power play chance in the 3rd period, but Kielly made some key saves down the stretch to preserve the win and the Central Division playoff crown. Kielly made 18 saves in the win, while Tolvanen made 19 saves in what would be the final game of his NAHL career.
With the win, the Bruins advance to the Robertson Cup Semi-Finals, where they will travel to Texas to face the Lone Star Brahmas. In the other Semi-Final, the Minnesota Wilderness will travel to Janesville to face the Jets. Both series are best of three and all games are in the higher seeded team’s arena. Game 1 of both series is Friday, May 8th.