The Austin Bruins have been in training camp mode for nearly two months. Their regular season was scheduled to begin two weeks ago, but the Bruins had back-to-back weekend series postponed due to COVID-19 concerns.
Tonight -- at long last -- the Bruins will get to open their 2020-21 North American Hockey League season when the Janesville (Wis.) Jets visit Riverside Arena. Austin is one of just two teams in the 23-team NAHL that has yet to open its season, along with the Minnesota Wilderness, who are scheduled to open their season Saturday.
Steve Howard enters his fourth season as the Bruins' head coach, with first-year assistants Justin Fisher and Cory Lonke.
The Bruins have plenty of talent; their opening night roster includes seven players committed to Division I college programs. Expect the roster to fluctuate early in the season, and the roster cut-down date looms next week, but here’s a player-by-player look at the 2020-21 Bruins, as the roster stands heading into tonight’s opener.
30 • Hudson Hodges (6-2, 175, Moorhead; 19 years old): Hodges was Austin’s second-round pick in this year’s NAHL Supplemental Draft, out of Moorhead High School. … He is the winner of the 2020 Frank Brimsek Award, given annually to the top high school goalie in Minnesota. … Went 19-7-1 with a 2.08 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage as a senior, helping the Spuds reach the Class AA state tournament.
32 • Tyler Shea (6-0, 165, Stevenson Ranch, Calif.; 19): Played in 20 games with the Bruins last season, going 5-7-1 with a 2.97 GAA and a .922 save pct. … Played in one game in 2018-19, the day he arrived in Austin after traveling from California. Played two periods, allowed two goals on 19 shots. … Had a 1.82 GAA and .945 save pct. for the Anaheim Jr. Ducks 18U AAA team in 2018-19.
33 • Zach Hansen (6-2, 165, Chaska; 18): Played sparingly in two seasons at Chaska High School before joining the Bruins last season. … Played in four games for Austin in 2019-20, going 2-0-0 with a 1.74 GAA and a .924 save pct., and one shutout. … Also played in 10 games for the Des Moines Buccaneers 18U AAA team last season.
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2 • Jake Jensen (5-10, 165, Salt Lake City, Utah; 19): Had 16 goals and 35 total points in 46 total games over the past two seasons for the Colorado Rampage U18 AAA program. … With the Rampage, was teammates with Bruins forward Peter Jacobs. … Was a captain in his final season with the Rampage.
3 • Travis Shoudy (5-10, 161, Marysville, Mich.; 18): Had three points in 37 games with the Bruins last season. … Scored his first goal as a Bruin in the final game of last season, a 4-3 Bruins victory against the Chippewa Steel. … Played one game for the Rochester Grizzlies last season and three for the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers.
4 • Ben Dexheimer (5-8, 150, Edina; 18): Committed to Division I Miami of Ohio. .. Edina native helped the Blake School place third in the Class AA state tournament last season. … Averaged a point per game for Blake last year, with 12 goals and 30 points in 30 games. … Assisted on the game-tying goal in the third period for Blake that forced overtime in the Section 6AA championship game. … Had three goals and six points in three section playoff games. … The Bruins’ third-round selection in last summer’s NAHL Supplemental Draft.
5 • Therien Thiesing (6-0, 170, Franklin, Tenn.; 17): The Bruins’ second-round draft pick this year, selected in Round 2, with the No. 45 overall pick. … Just 17 years old, Thiesing played the past four years in the Chicago Mission program. … Had four goals and 46 penalty minutes in 17 games for the Mission 16U AAA team last season.
7 • Cullen Rush (6-3, 201, Alexandria, Va.; 20): The second-year Bruin is one of two 20-year-olds the team has on the blue line to start the season. … Had one goal and 12 assists in 50 games played for the Bruins last season. … Was second on the team a year ago with a plus-10 plus/minus rating. … Played six games with the Rochester Grizzlies at the tail end of the 2018-19 season, recording three assists.
15 • Noah Szretter (5-11, 174, Lancaster, N.Y.; 19): Played in four games for the NAHL’s New Jersey Titans this season before being released and landing with Austin. … Played three seasons at Nichols High School in Buffalo, N.Y., where he had 67 points and 242 penalty minutes. … Played in the Buffalo Jr. Sabres AAA program at the 14U and 15U levels.
17 • Frank Dovorany (5-11, 174, Wausau, Wis.; 19): Signed this week to play Division I college hockey at Michigan Tech, following in the footsteps of former Bruins Joe Schuldt, Justin Misiak, Levi Stauber and Jed Pietila, all of whom play or played at Tech. … Had 21 points in three seasons of high school hockey at Wausau West. … Recorded eight assists in 49 games for Madison of the USHL last season.
20 • Jackson McCarthy (6-2, 200, West Seneca, N.Y.; 18): Austin’s first-round pick (No. 18 overall) in last summer’s NAHL Supplemental Draft. … Recorded four goals and 24 points in 63 games for Mount St. Charles Academy U18 AAA team in Rhode Island last season. … “He’s not a fun player to play against and goes hard into the boards and in the dirty areas,” Bruins director of player personnel Aaron Venasky said.
22 • Camden Gallagher (6-4, 210; Boise, Idaho; 20): Played in 26 games for the Bruins last season. … Recorded three points and 26 shots on goal. … Played one season for the Lloydminster Bobcats in the Alberta Junior Hockey League, where he recorded one goal and four assists in 47 games.
24 • Jayden Jensen (6-4, 216; Marengo, Ill.; 19): A seasoned NAHL veteran, Jensen played in 109 games over the past three seasons with the Springfield Jr. Blues. … Had 12 points and 81 penalty minutes in 53 games last season, and has NAHL career totals of 22 points and 129 penalty minutes.
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6 • Mason Poolman (5-10, 155, East Grand Forks; 18): Scored nine goals, five on the power play, and had 27 points as a senior at East Grand Forks Senior High last season. … Helped the Green Wave reach the Class A state tournament in 2019 as a junior, when he had seven goals and 16 points. … Drafted in the fifth round by the Bruins in this year’s NAHL Draft. … Older brother Tucker is a defenseman for the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets and older brother Colton signed with the Calgary Flames organization last spring.
8 • Alex Trombley (6-0, 161, Howell, Mich.; 19): The Bruins’ first-round pick (No. 18 overall) in the 2020 NAHL Draft, Trombley is committed to play Division I college hockey at Ohio State. … Signed a tender to play with the Bruins in the 2019-20 season, but spent the full season with Madison of the USHL. … Played 27 games in the NAHL -- with Austin’s division rival Bismarck -- as a 16-year-old, recording five goals. … In 2018-19, played in 59 games with the Oakland (Mich.) Jr. Grizzlies 18U AAA program, scoring 34 goals and 58 points.
9 • Nick Catalano (5-11, 170, Pewaukee, Wis.; 19): One of the top scorers in Wisconsin high school hockey last season, Catalano scored 41 goals and recorded 80 points in 27 games for Arrowhead High School, approximately 25 miles west of Milwaukee. … Finished fourth in Wisconsin in goals and second in total points last season. … Signed a tender agreement on April 3, 2020 to play for the Bruins this season.
11 • Barrett Brooks (5-7, 170, Stevens Point, Wis.; 18): Committed to play Division I college hockey at Western Michigan University. … Had eight goals, including one game winner, and 19 points in 44 games with the Bruins last season. … Scored 22 goals and had 54 points as a senior at Stevens Point Area High in 2018-19. … Played five games with Omaha of the USHL following his senior season.
12 • Ben Oakland (6-1, 174, Boise, Idaho; 18): Signed a tender with the Bruins back in January. … Played the past two seasons at Northstar Christian Academy in Alexandria, Minn. … Had 31 points in 55 games for Northstar’s 18U AAA team last season, and added seven points in 16 games for Northstar’s North American Prospects Hockey League 18U team.
14 • Walter Zacher (6-0, 170, Buffalo, N.Y.; 18): Played at Nichols High School in Buffalo, N.Y., with fellow Bruins newcomer Noah Szretter. … Zacher is a natural scorer; he had 47 goals and 73 points in 51 games. … Over his three-year prep career at Nichols, recorded 63 goals and 114 points in 121 games. … Originally signed to play this season with Sherwood Park in the Alberta Junior Hockey League.
16 • Tyler Fittro (6-0, 190, Cedar Falls, Iowa; 19): Played past two seasons with Chicago Mission 18U AAA program. … Had six goals and 11 points in 33 games with Mission’s 18U team. … Has played both forward and defense in his hockey career. … Impressed Bruins coaches in tryout camp in August, scoring a goal and getting in a fight during the camp All-Star Game.
18 • Akhmed Malsagov (5-11, 190, Moskva, Russia; 20): Played the past two seasons for the Rum River Mallards of the USPHL. … Scored 34 goals and had 74 points in 43 games last season. … Has played in the U.S. for three years. Played the 2017-18 season for the Boston Bandits of the USPHL, where he scored 19 goals in 38 games.
19 • Connor Crawford (6-4, 174, Troy, Mich.; 18): Split last season between the Little Caesars AAA program in Michigan and the Bruins. … Played 15 games for the Bruins, recording two assists. … Picked up his play as the season went on, recording both of his assists in the final five games of the season.
21 • Kyle Oleksiuk (5-7, 160, Winnipeg; 20): Played with three different NAHL teams over the past two seasons. … Split last season between the Maryland Black Bears and the Austin Bruins. … Came to Austin in a trade with the Black Bears in February, in exchange for two draft picks. … Contributed immediately for the Bruins, recording seven points in 10 games.
23 • Connor Mylymok (6-1, 207, Wilcox, Sask.; 20): Committed to play Division I college hockey at the University of Alaska. … Third-year Bruin has played in 79 games, with 12 goals and 23 career points. … Had eight goals and 17 points in 25 games with the Bruins last season. … A hard-nosed player, team captain and leader, along the lines of former Bruins defenseman Lane Krenzen. … Brother, Luke, is a freshman on the Minnesota Duluth hockey team.
24 • Hunter Olson (5-11, 181, Bemidji; 20): Played parts of the past two seasons in the NAHL. … Had 11 points in 34 games for Bismarck last season, when he also played six games for the Odessa (Texas) Jackalopes. … Had five points in 18 games for Bismarck in 2018-19, playing with the Bobcats after his high school season ended. … Had 83 career points in four seasons for Bemidji High School.
25 • Sutter Muzzatti (6-5, 203, Okemos, Mich.; 17): Just last week, announced his commitment to play Division I college hockey at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, N.Y. … Just turned 17 in late June. … Played the majority of last season with the Meijer AAA program in Michigan, then played two games for Muskegon of the USHL.
26 • Teppei Ueno (5-5, 140, Japan; 18): Played last season for the Toronto Jr. Canadiens of the Greater Toronto Hockey League. … Played for Japan’s U18 and U20 World Junior Championship teams over the past two years.
27 • Carson Riddle (5-8, 165, Holly, Mich.; 19): Another third-year Bruin, Riddle is the team’s top returning scorer. He scored 11 goals and added 19 assists in 49 games for Austin last season. … Like teammate Barrett Brooks, Riddle is committed to Division I Western Michigan. ... Had five points in 47 games as a Bruins rookie in 2018-19. … Came through the Belle Tire and Honeybaked AAA programs before joining the Bruins.
28 • Peter Jacobs (5-10, 179, Carlsbad, Calif.; 20): Had seven goals, including three on the power play, and 18 total points for the Bruins last season. … Was sixth on the team with 100 shots on goal. … Played one game with Austin in 2018-19. … Played three seasons in the Colorado Rampage AAA program, wearing a letter all three years. … Had 24 goals and 54 points in 60 games with the Rampage 18U team over past two seasons.
29 • Jens Richards (6-2, 194, Detroit Lakes; 17): Played the past two seasons at Northstar Christian Academy in Alexandria, Minn. … Had 42 points in 48 games for Northstar’s 18U AAA team last season, and added 12 points in 14 games for Northstar’s team in the North American Prospects Hockey League.