Neither St. Cloud nor Austin could decide Saturday night’s game in regulation and it took halfway through an overtime period but eventually the Bruins found the back of the net and defeated the Norsemen 2-1.
Each team had two power play opportunities in the first period, St. Cloud getting the first two, Austin getting the last two, but neither team could convert. It was an otherwise uneventful frame that saw St. Cloud edge out Austin in shots on goal 11-9. The Bruins had the first power play chance in the second but the Norsemen got the last three of the second period, yet Austin still got more shots on target in the second 11-8. The Bruins also got on the board first, in the final minute of the frame. From just above the right circle Dylan Cook slid the puck to the top of the left circle and Matthew Desiderio. Desiderio got a wrist shot off while falling and beat Norsemen goalie Will Ingemann above the left pad, below the glove, with 54 seconds left in the period to make it a 1-0 Austin lead heading into the second intermission.
The Norsemen converted on their sixth power play chance of the game when all five skaters got involved in the play. Outside the right circle Tyler Dysart went up the wall to the right point and Daniels Murnieks who quickly centered it just inside the blue line to Broten Sabo. Sabo hit Andrew Clarke at the outer perimeter of the left circle, who returned it back to Sabo. The two switched spots with Clarke going high on the umbrella and Sabo getting to the left circle and he fed it down low to Blake Perbix who was waiting just outside the crease. Perbix kept his stick on the ice and tipped it past Trent Wiemken at the 7:53 mark, 20 seconds into the power play opportunity. Despite scoring the lone goal of the frame, St. Cloud was outshot heavily, 14-5 in the third, and the two teams would head to overtime deadlocked 1-1.
In the extra time Austin had a 5-1 edge in shots on goal when Damon Furuseth cut from right to left through the slot and around a couple Norsemen before sneaking a wrist shot around Ingemann’s blocker, short side, scoring at 10:02 of the extra period. Ingemann stopped 37 of 39 shots and was named the First Star of the Game as he kept St. Cloud in the contest despite being outshot 39-25.
With the victory, Austin wins the best-of-five series three games to one and moves on to the Robertson Cup this weekend in Blaine, MN. Austin will represent the Central Division against the Maryland Black Bears, who won the NAHL East Division Regular and Postseason titles as they face off Friday and Saturday night at 7:30 Central Time in a best-of-three series and if needed, Sunday at 6:00. Oklahoma, the overall #1 seed and the only team who has not tasted defeat in the Robertson Cup Playoffs, represents the South and takes on the Midwest Division champion Minnesota Wilderness, the only non-divisional regular season winner to advance to the Robertson Cup. Those two will square off at 4:30 Central both Friday and Saturday and if they split then 3:00 on Sunday afternoon. All of those games can be watched online at hockeytv.com.
St. Cloud’s loss ended their season Saturday as they fell two victories short of back-to-back appearances at the Robertson Cup.