Bruins Blank Wilderness in Pre-season Series Finale

A stellar goaltending performance from Konrad Kausch and Jed Baliotti turned out to be not good enough for the Minnesota
Wilderness Saturday night, as they fell 1-0 in a pre-season game to the Austin Bruins.
Walter Zacher scored the game’s lone goal 11:43 into the 2 nd period, breaking a scoreless stalemate that had been dominated
by the Bruins. Austin kept the Wilderness on their heels for most of the first two periods, when it was the beneficiary of seven
power play opportunities, compared to only two power plays for Minnesota.
It was on Austin’s fifth chance with the man-advantage when they finally broke through. After Minnesota cleared the puck out
of its end and attempted to change its penalty-killing unit, the Bruins charged forward as brothers Matys and Isaak Brassard
combined to move the puck ahead to Zacher, who darted into the Wilderness zone with only one defender between him and
the opposing goal. Zacher maneuvered into the slot and fired a shot that ended up in the top shelf of the net behind Kausch.
That marked the end of the night for Kausch, as the Wilderness coaching staff had planned on the veteran goaltender to only
play the first half of the game. Kausch and closer Baliotti combined to make 29 saves—some of which could be described to be
spectacular.
The Wilderness dialed up the intensity in the third period, and outshot Austin 11-9 in the final frame. However, for the game,
Austin had the advantage by a count of 30-24. Ethan Robertson went the distance for the home team and earned a 24-save
shutout.
Both teams had a bigger veteran presence in Saturday’s game compared to Friday. The Bruins had a lineup comprised of 13
veterans, compared to only four Friday night; while Minnesota sent out 10 players with at least one season of Jr. hockey
experience on the ice—up from 7 the night before. That helped contribute to a much more physical and emotional game than
the series opener. The two teams combined for 54 minutes of penalties in Saturday’s contest, compared to only 10 minutes in
Friday night’s contest in Cloquet (won by the Wilderness, 4-1).
The majority of those penalty minutes were the result of a fight between Wilderness forward Joe Cesario and Bruins
defenseman Nate Looft. That tussle led to each player receiving a 5-minute major and 10-minute misconduct.
On the power play, Austin finished 1 for 7, while Minnesota was kept scoreless in four chances.
Next up for Minnesota is the beginning of the regular season. They’ll open their tenth campaign in the NAHL next Friday and
Saturday night as they play host to the Fairbanks Ice Dogs. Puck drop at Northwoods Credit Union Arena on both nights will be
7:15 p.m.