Bruins finish the job with authority on Paint the Rink Pink Night
Published 10:54 pm Saturday, February 3, 2024
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The game was already decided, but the Bruins weren’t about to let up.
Austin killed a pair of five-on-three power plays in the third period, including a six-on-three rush in the final minute to preserve a 5-1 win over the Aberdeen Wings (25-16-2-2 overall) in front of a packed house on Paint the Rink Pink night Saturday.
“I’m just ecstatic,” Austin head coach Steve Howard said. “I’m through the moon right now and I’m lost for words, really.”
Austin goalie Trent Wiemken stopped 14 shots in the third period and he had 30 total saves in the win. It was his first start on PTRP, which raises funds for the Hormel Institute to fight cancer.
“We all wanted to finish this so bad,” Wiemken said. “We went through so much adversity tonight and soon as we knew we had to kill those penalties off, we knew we were going to do it. We were feeding off the crowd all night and it was nice to see those guys selling out for blocks and we got that empty net.”
Austin shut down eight Aberdeen power plays on the night and the game ended on an exclamation point when Austin Salani broke free to score on an empty net with 12 seconds left in the game.
“Our penalty kill was great. Any time you’ve got to kill off eight penalties, including two five-on-threes, that’s big,” Howard said. “Hats off to Trent and all of our guys on the PK. Al Rooney has turned around our PK and I’m so happy the way they laid out for each other and blocked a lot of shots, while facing a lot of adversity.”
Ashton Bynum scored his first goal of the season to get the team going in the first period and Dylan Cook scored to make it 2-1 in the second. Jackson Rilei made the play of the night when he pulled back a shot on a breakaway, skated around the net and dumped the puck back to Jackson Luther, who converted a goal to put Austin up 3-1 in the third.
The Bruins (20-18-1-1 overall) had lost seven of their last eight games leading up to Saturday’s win and they had allowed more than five goals in their last two contests.
“Hopefully this gets us back on track and hopefully we can keep it going,” Weimken said.
The Bruins, who have some key players back from last year’s team that took second in the NAHL, will now have to continue battling.
“This was a must win for us. Our playoffs have already started. We’ve got to make a push here down the stretch,” Howard said. “We’ve got 20 games left and right now we’re on the outside looking in. We’ve got to definitely put our foot on the gas here.”
PTRP is the event that started Paint the Town Pink in Austin and it never gets old for the community or the Bruins. Wiemken said that he felt the nerves rush the second he skated on the pink ice and skated in front of the sold out Riverside Arena.
“As soon as we got out there we were all shaking and we were nervous. As soon as we got that first goal the whole place was shaking. We’re so thankful for these fans,” Howard said. “This is a great event for cancer research and for all of the loved ones that are battling it, we’re here for them. There is no better victory than there was tonight.”
Austin 1 3 1 – 5
Aberdeen 0 1 0 – 1
(A) Ashton Bynum (Jackson Rilei, Damon Furuseth) 19:37
(A) Dylan Cook (Ocean Wallace, Giuseppe Fiorillo) :39
(AB) Luke Backel (Bennett Koupal, Zach Reim) 2:11
(A) Jackson Luther (Rilei, Alex Laurenza) 6:14
(A) Furuseth (Trip Pendy, Trent Wiemken) 17:25
(A) Austin Salani (Connor Brust) 19:48