AUSTIN — Nothing went the Austin Bruins' way in the first 18 minutes of a North American Hockey League game against Central Division rival Minnesota Wilderness on Friday.
But when Connor Mylymok found the back of the net with 1:17 left in the first period, it set in motion a wild comeback by the Bruins, who rallied from four goals down to beat the Wilderness 6-5 at Riverside Arena.
Minnesota led 4-0 less than 15 minutes into the game. The Wilderness chased Austin's starting goalie, Brett Miller, just 6:19 in, after Minnesota scored on three of its first four shots.
But Mylymok's goal jump-started the Bruins. Hugh Larkin scored on the first shift of the second period to cut Austin's deficit to 4-2, then Ben Almquist scored with 1:07 left in the second to make it 4-3.
Mylymok scored again on the first shift of the third period to tie it, then Peter Jacobs scored at the 9:35 mark for Austin's first lead of the night. Almquist added a short-handed, empty-net goal with 1:11 to go, and Minnesota's Nathan Adrian scored a power-play goal with 23 seconds left to cap the scoring.
Austin (12-8-4) jumped past the Wilderness (13-10-1) into fourth place in a crowded Central Division, where the top five teams are within five points of one another.
The Bruins play a home-and-home series with St. Cloud next weekend. The teams meet at Riverside Arena at 7:05 p.m. Friday, then play at St. Cloud at 7:10 p.m. Saturday.
BRUINS 6, WILDERNESS 5
Minnesota 4 0 1 — 5
Austin 1 2 3 — 6
Minnesota: Blake Holmes 2 assists; Zachary Ziegler 3 assists; Nathan Adrian 1 goal; Chikara Hanzawa 1 assist; Aaron Myers 2 assists; Kimball Johnson 1 goal; Garrett Worth 1 goal; Brady Hunter 1 assist; Jacob Herter 2 goals. Goalie: Kaleb Johnson 28 saves (33 shots).
Austin: Adam Szubert 1 assist; Tiernan Shoudy 1 assist; Ben Almquist 2 goals, 1 assist; Josef Mysak 1 assist; Hugh Larkin 1 goal, 1 assist; Conner Tilmon 1 assist; Jaden Shields 2 assists; Connor Mylymok 2 goals, 2 assists; Jed Pietila 1 assist; Peter Jacobs 1 goal. Goalies: Brett Miller (6:19) 1 save (4 shots); Tyler Shea (53:41) 9 saves (11 shots).
BACKSTROM, GRIZZLIES SHUT OUT PEORIA
Mathias Backstrom has played in just three of the Rochester Grizzlies’ seven games so far in November.
But the Malmo, Sweden, native has made his case to hold down the Grizzlies’ crease.
He earned his second shutout in three November starts on Friday, making 17 saves to backstop Rochester to a 2-0 North American 3 Hockey League victory against Peoria at the Rochester Recreation Center.
Backstrom is 3-0-0 this month, with a 0.67 goals-against average and a .956 save percentage.
The Grizzlies needed his 17 stops Friday, as Peoria goalie Jaden Gardner made 35 saves to keep his team in the game.
Rochester captain Peyton Hart scored the game-winning goal 43 seconds into the second period and defenseman Michael Heitkamp added an insurance goal midway through the third period.
The Grizzlies (14-4-1) moved into second place in the NA3HL Central Division with the win. They have 29 points, just two back of division-leading St. Louis, who the Grizzlies will play a two-game series against next weekend in St. Louis.
Rochester can pull into a first-place tie with a victory against Peoria in their series finale at 7 p.m. tonight at the Rec Center.
ROCHESTER 2, PEORIA 0
Peoria 0 0 0 — 0
Rochester 0 1 1 — 2
Peoria: Goalie: Jaden Gardner 35 saves (37 shots).
Rochester: Peyton Hart 1 goal; Matt DeRosa 1 assist; Michael Heitkamp 1 goal; Jesper Hofling 1 assist; Lucas Newman 1 assist. Goalie: Mathias Backstrom 17 saves (17 shots).