The Aberdeen Wings downed the Brookings Blizzard 4-2 on Friday night at the Odde Ice Center. But the true story of the evening was the 1,674 fans who attended to show support for former Wings player Zach Kraft, who was diagnosed with cancer.
The game was a physical match all night long. In the first period, Brookings went up 1-0 on a goal from Jared Goudreau. The second period would be all Aberdeen, thanks to goals from #18 Austin Swingle (F-Sartell, MN) and #15 Jordan Heller (F-Bemidji, MN). Assists on the goals were given to #19 Colin O’Neill (F-Odenton, MD), #16 Kyle Haak (F-Okemos, MI), #21 Bjorn Sigurdarson (F-Reykjavik, Iceland), and #11 TJ Roo (F-Coon Rapids, MN). Also, #8 Drew Doyon (F-Indianapolis, IN) would drop the gloves protecting another teammate taking the Brookings player to the ice.
The third period would feature goals from #11 TJ Roo and #24 Jonathan Grebosky (F-Pittsburgh, PA) with assists credited to #10 Tanner Okeson (D-Roseau, MN), #3 Daniel Billett (F-Highlands Ranch, CO), #12 Austin Heakins (F-Mars, PA), and #22 Zach Doerring (F-Chanhassen, MN). The Brookings Blizzard would however get another goal late in the 3rd period, but the Wings would come away with the win 4-2. Wings goaltender #1 Chad Catt (G-Williamstown, MI) would stop 24 of 26 shots for the win. The Wings outshot Brookings 36-26.
Again, the true story of the evening was the benefit fundraiser for former Aberdeen Wings player Zach Kraft, who earlier this year was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer. Current Wings players Dillon Eichstadt, Jake Horton, and Jonathan Grebosky were featured at the 2014 NAHL Top Prospects tournament in Troy, Michigan last month. Those players donated their tournament jerseys to be auctioned off with all the proceeds going to Zach Kraft. The jerseys brought a lot and so did other benefits. A total will be presented tomorrow night. The outstanding support shown by the Aberdeen Wings fans, players, and staff was greatly appreciated by Zach Kraft in his battle.
Another great part of the story was that the Brookings Blizzard donated $300 to the benefit prior to departing back to Brookings. Thank you to the Blizzard organization. Also, after seeing what the Wings players were doing to raise funds, the Bismarck Bobcats set aside the rivalry and will auction off their Top Prospects jerseys with proceeds going to Zach Kraft.
This is the story, of junior hockey in Aberdeen. Wings owner Greg Odde and the organization have always stated that this team is more than just another junior hockey team in another junior hockey town. This is a community of fans that share in every high point and low point, and stand beside their players as family members.
Thank you to all who have donated and supported this benefit, you truly show the kindness at heart of the Aberdeen Wings organization and community.
BUTLER-CAT HIT OF THE GAME
Aberdeen #8 Drew Doyon (F-Indianapolis, IN)
SOUTH DAKOTA WHEATGROWERS STARS OF THE GAME
3RD STAR – #15 Jordan Heller (F-Bemidji, MN)
2ND STAR – #18 Austin Swingle (F-Sartell, MN)
1ST STAR – #24 Jonathan Grebosky (F-Pittsburgh, PA)
The Aberdeen Wings take on the Brookings Blizzard at the Odde Ice Center, Saturday night. General admission tickets are $10, reserved seating $12.