The Minnesota Magicians (16-19-4) faced the Austin Bruins (21-18-1) last weekend in what has historically been a difficult match-up for the boys from Richfield. The Magicians were able to write a different narrative throughout the weekend, however, first beating Austin on their own ice on Friday night before returning home on Saturday and securing a victory in front of the hometown faithful.
Up next for the Magicians is a two-game home stand this weekend. On Friday, the Coulee Region Chill (18-19-0) come to town to do battle with the Magicians. The following night, the Brookings Blizzard (16-18-6) will make an appearance at Richfield Ice Arena in a game that will have major implications on the Central Division playoff push.
On Friday evening, the Magicians made the trip down to Riverside arena in Austin, Minnesota to face off against the Bruins. Prior to this season, the Magicians had not registered a regular season victory over Austin in franchise history, a stat that changed earlier this season when the Magicians were finally able to knock off the Bruins on home ice in early November. Going into Friday's game, the Magicians still had yet to win a game at Riverside Arena.
In the first period, the Magicians were able to score the lone goal of the frame when Kyle Amundson found the back of the net. Braxton Collins and Nick McKeeby had the assists on Amundson's goal. In the second, it was the Magicians once again who were able to supply the period's only scoring. This time it was Jacob Gammicchia scoring a goal assisted by Kyle Wagner and Braxton Collins. In the final period, the Magicians were able to continue stifling the Bruins offense, keeping them off the board again while adding a goal from Jack Christensen that was assisted by Casey Jerry and Travis Brown. Goaltender Daniil Gerasimov made his first start as a member of the Magicians and stopped all 32 shots he faced to earn the shutout victory.
On Saturday, the Magicians and Bruins had the rematch at Richfield Ice Arena. This time, it was the Bruins who were able to strike first on the powerplay at the midway point of the period. Later in the period, the Magicians were able to tie the game with a powerplay goal of their own by Jake Cass assisted by Casey Jerry and Pierce Crawford. Just before the end of the opening period, Austin was able to score once more to take a lead into the intermission.
In the second period, Austin struck first quickly to increase their lead to 3-1. It looked like the period would end that way before Jake Cass found the back of the net again late in the period to give the Magicians hope heading into the final 20 minutes. Pierce Crawford and Brady Heppner were credited with assists on Cass's 2nd goal.
In the third, the Magicians took advantage of a powerplay to tie the game on a goal by Pierce Crawford less than a minute into the period. Casey Jerry and Jake Cass got the assists on the game tying goal. Later in the period on another powerplay, Joe Nathe gave the Magicians a lead on a goal by Jake Cass and Johnny Panvica. Goaltender Will Ulrich, who came into the game in relief of Daniil Gerasimov, was brilliant down the stretch stopping all 24 shots he faced to preserve the Magicians victory.
The pair of victories on the weekend kept the Magicians right in the thick of the Central Division playoff chase. Both of the Magicians' opponents this weekend have losing records, which give the Magic ample opportunity to make up more ground in the standings.