Coming off a dominant 4-0 win in Game 1 of their NAHL Robertson Cup seminfinal series with the Maryland Black Bears Friday night, the Austin Bruins were looking to punch their ticket to the winner-take-all final Tuesday with another win at the Schwan’s Super Rink in Blaine Saturday evening, but the Black Bears had other ideas as they forced a third and deciding game Sunday night with a 2-1 win.
After a scoreless first period, Maryland’s Riley Ruh scored his second goal of the postseason on the power play only :37 seconds into the second period to give the Black Bears a 1-0 lead, and Brayden Stannard’s second goal of the playoffs at 3:49 of the period pushed Maryland’s lead to 2-0. Walter Zacher tallied his seventh postseason goal at 5:15 of the third period, with assists to Gavin Morrissey, his 10th of the playoffs, and to Dylan Cook, his seventh to cut the Black Bears lead to 2-1, but despite the Bruins outshooting the Black Bears 35-21 for the game, Maryland goaltender William Haakenson and the Black Bears defense were able to hold the Bruins off the scoresheet the rest of the way for the win.
Trent Wiemken turned away 19 of the 21 shots he faced for Austin, and Maryland’s penalty kill was another key factor in their win as they held the Bruins to an 0 for 7 total on the power play. The Bruins were penalized only twice in the game, but the Black Bears were 1 for 2 with the man advantage.
A deciding Game 3 will be played tonight in Blaine between the two squads, with puck drop at 6 p.m. The winner goes on to play the top-seeded Oklahoma Warriors in a winner-take-all final Tuesday. The Warriors swept the fourth-seeded Minnesota Wilderness, winning 4-2 Friday afternoon and 3-1 Saturday afternoon.