Austin Bruins work OT to top North Iowa Bulls
Gavin Morrissey scored in the fifth round of a shootout to keep Austin atop the NAHL Central Division standings.
MASON CITY — Gavin Morrissey hadn't registered a point since the second game of the season, back on Sept. 16.
Yet, the first-year Austin Bruins forward showed no nerves when he took to the ice late Friday night with nothing between himself and North Iowa goalie Hunter Garvey.
Morrissey managed to beat Garvey in the fifth round of a shootout to give the Bruins a 4-3 victory and the extra point in the standings. The shootout win helped Austin (5-1-1 overall) maintain first place in the North American Hockey League Central Division.
The victory also came in Austin's first trip to North Iowa, a franchise that moved up from the Tier III North American 3 Hockey League last season to the Tier II NAHL this season.
Austin never trailed in the game, as the teams traded goals three times.
Marian Haborak's second goal of the season, on a power play, gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead just 6:05 into the game. Chris Carroll tied it for the Bulls eight minutes later and the score was tied 1-1 after one.
Austin struck again on the power play in the second period, when Nick Catalano scored his fourth goal of the season, at the 12:03 mark, to make it a 2-1 Bruins lead.
North Iowa's Hunter Bulger and Austin's Carson Riddle traded goals in a span of 2:07 midway through the third, putting Austin up 3-2, then with just 43 seconds to go in regulation, North Iowa's Sean Vlasich knotted the score and forced OT.
Bruins goalie Hudson Hodges was up to the task in OT and the shootout. He stopped the only shot he faced in OT, then stopped four of the Bulls' five shooters in the shootout. Hodges finished with 27 saves in the win, to improve to 4-1-1 as a starter this season.
Sutter Muzzatti recorded his NAHL-leading ninth and 10th assists of the season, while Dylan Gajewski, Carson Riddle and Jens Richards had one apiece.
Hunter Garvey made 34 saves for North Iowa, which was outshot 38-30.
North Iowa travels to Austin on Saturday to complete the two-game home-and-home series. Opening faceoff is set for 7 p.m. at Riverside Arena.
The Bruins have a two-point lead over North Iowa (4-2-1) atop the Central Division.