After falling to the North Iowa Bulls 3-2 at Riverside Arena Friday evening, the Austin Bruins, the front-runners in the NAHL’s Central Division were on the road in Mason City for a rematch with the Bulls Saturday evening, and two goals in the last :48 of regulation time, including the game-winner with :11 left vaulted the Bruins to a dramatic 5-4 come-from-behind victory.
North Iowa jumped out to a 1-0 lead in Saturday night’s game with a power-play marker at 9:37 of the first period, but the Bruins knotted the game at one apiece with a goal from Jackson Luther, his fifth, with assists to Austin Salani, his 12th of the season, and to Walter Zacher, his ninth, at 16:21. Another power-play goal for the Bulls, who tallied four of them in the contest at 18:43 of the first period gave North Iowa a 2-1 lead at the end of one period.
Austin’s Gavin Morrissey scored the only goal of the second period, his fourth at 14:31 with assists to Parker Anderson, his fourth, and to Damon Furseth, his ninth of the season to tie the game at two, but North Iowa answered with two more power-play goals, one at 2:07 and another at 10:42 of the third period to give the Bulls a 4-2 lead. The lead seemed safe until the Bruins began their comeback with a power-play goal at 16:53 of the period when Ocean Wallace lit the lamp for the fourth time this season, with assists to Dylan Cook, his seventh, and to Gavin Morrissey, his 11th, to cut the lead to 4-3. Wallace then tied the game at four apiece with only 48 seconds left with assists to Morrissey, his 12th, and to Jack Malinski, his 14th, and with North Iowa’s Byron Hartley in the penalty box for high-sticking at 19:26, the Bruins completed the comeback with a power-play goal from Dylan Cook, his seventh of the season with only :11 seconds to play with assists to Morrissey, his third of the night and 13th of the season, and to Malinski, his 15th to push Austin past North Iowa in dramatic fashion, 5-4.
The Bruins outshot the Bulls 34-23 for the game, and Austin was whistled for seven penalties for 14 minutes, while North Iowa was also called for seven penalties for 30 minutes. The Bruins wound up 2 for 5 on the power play while the Bulls were 4 for 6, and Austin netminder Trent Wiemken earned the win between the pipes with 19 saves, while Erik Chaffe took the loss for North Iowa with 29 saves.
With the win, Austin is now 15-3-1-3 for 34 points, six points clear of second-place Minot, and the Bruins will play host to the Minotauros this Friday and Saturday at Riverside Arena, with face-off at 7:05 p.m. both evenings