Bruins hang on to hold on to first place

BISMARCK, N.D. — The Austin Bruins controlled approximately 59 minutes of Saturday's North American Hockey League Central Division game at Bismarck.

The Bruins then had to hold on in the final minute to win the game, 4-3, and remain in first place in the division.

Austin (8-2-1 overall) was dominating both on the scoreboard and in shots on goal for a majority of the game — the third time the teams had met in an eight-day span.

The Bruins led 4-1 and were outshooting the Bobcats, 27-17, with about three minutes remaining in the third period.

But as the clock ticked down and Bobcats goalie Bryan Nies made his way to the bench for an extra attacker, Bismarck's Johno May made things closer than the Bruins would have liked. May scored an extra-attacker goal with 1:08 to go to cut Austin's lead to 4-2. He added another against Bruins goalie Nick Lehr with just 4.8 seconds remaining to make it 4-3.


Then time ran out on the Bobcats (5-7-0), allowing Austin to hold onto its one-point lead in the standings over second-place Brookings, which beat Minot, 3-1, on Saturday.

Bismarck scored the only goal of the first period, when Adam Knochenmus scored on a power play at the 6:51 mark.

Austin took control of the scoreboard in the second period, when AJ Reid scored the first two of his three goals. Reid made it 1-1 at the 8:49 mark. He put the Bruins up for good at 16:18, then John Simonson made it 3-1 Austin just 22 seconds later.

Reid completed his hat trick at the 3:37 mark of the third period, giving the Bruins a cushion they would need every bit of.

Lehr made 18 saves to earn his sixth victory of the season, while Nies stopped 23 shots in a losing effort for the Bobcats.

Austin is back on the road next weekend. The Bruins play a two-game Central Division series at Aberdeen on Friday and Saturday. Both games are scheduled to begin at 7:15 p.m.

Bruins 4, Bobcats 3




First period— 1. B, Adam Knochenmus (Patrick Moore) 6:51 (pp).

Second period— 2. A, AJ Reid (Austin Nelson) 8:49. 3. A, Reid (Cody Dixon) 16:18. 4. A, John Simonson (Jay Dickman, Brandon Wahlin) 16:40 (pp).

Third period— 5. A, Reid (Dickman, Jake Flynn) 3:37. 6. B, Johno May (Kevin Becker) 18:52 (ea). 7. B, May (Joe Giordano) 19:56 (ea).

Shots on goal— A 12-10-5—27, B 6-6-9—21. Goalies— A, Nick Lehr (W, 6-2-1, 18 saves); B, Bryan Nies (L, 4-5-0, 23 saves). Power-play opportunities— A, 1-for-6; B, 1-for-2. Penalties— A, 6-28 minutes; B, 8-26 minutes.

Attendance— 1,203.

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