After a big win Thursday against the Bismarck Bobcats and a tough 2-1 loss to Brookings on Friday, the Wings were ready to put every ounce of energy left on the ice. Thursday night, Wings goaltender #30 Luke Kania got his first NAHL win against Bismarck and would get the call in net for Saturday night.
Speaking of energy. The Aberdeen Wings came out with big hits and very physical play, setting a tone for the evening. The Blizzard in search of a win to keep their playoff hopes alive, were also very physical. After a tripping call at the 8:00 mark, the play turned to offensive attacks. At the 14:08 mark, Wings forward #23 Jackson Graalum (F-Fargo, ND) would get a beautiful pass from #21 Bjorn Sigurdarson (F-Reykjavik, Iceland) and beat the goaltender stick high for the 1-0 lead. Also accredited with an assist was defenseman #15 Brendan Riordan (D-Downers Grove, IL).
Early in the 2nd period, the Blizzard would tie things up 1-1 with a goal from Joe Anderson. But for much of the period, the play would be even. Both teams registered 11 shots on goal.
In the third period, at the 3:03 mark, Wings forward #23 Jackson Graalum would again score. This time with a sniper shot in the lower left circle. The assist would again be given to #21 Bjorn Sigurdarson. With the Wings leading 2-1, Blizzard captain Beau Michaud would find the net tying the game yet again. At the 12:16 mark, Wings defenseman #9 Andrew Noel (D-Houston, TX) would skate the puck all the way up the ice, across the blue line, and feed it to Wings forward #25 Tucker DeYoung (F-Lake Bluff, IL) for a nice goal giving the Wings a 3-2 lead. Assist also given to #4 Eric Moser (D-Chicago, IL).
After a nasty hit on Wings forward #25 Tucker DeYoung, Aberdeen would go on the power play. Wings forward #16 Kyle Haak (F-Okemos, MI) would skate through the center of the scoring zone finding #21 Bjorn Sigurdarson. After a hard shot fake, Sigurdarson would find #10 Tanner Okeson (D-Roseau, MN) at the top of the zone and skate in and score. It would be the 7th goal, 26th point on the season for the second-year defenseman Okeson. With just under 3 minutes remaining in regulation, Wings leading 4-2, Brookings head coach Dan Daikawa pulled the goaltender Kubic for an extra attacker. Wings forward #25 Tucker DeYoung would find the empty net to give Aberdeen a 5-2 lead. A minute later, the Wings would add another empty net goal from #16 Kyle Haak with a final score of 6-2.
Wings goaltender #30 Luke Kania would get his 2nd NAHL win stopping 36 of 38 shots on goal. The Wings now remain 5 points ahead of the Brookings Blizzard for the 4th and final playoff spot. The Wings will be home next Friday against Minot and on the road against Minot on Saturday, then playing a two-game road series against the Minnesota Magicians to round out the regular season. The Blizzard have a tougher road, playing 6 games in the next two weeks. 4 games against the Austin Bruins, 1 against Coulee Region Chill, and 1 against Minot. All of their next opponents have clinched playoff spots.
BUTLER-CAT HIT OF THE GAME
Aberdeen #10 Tanner Okeson (D-Roseau, MN)
SD WHEATGROWERS STARS OF THE GAME
3rd Star – Aberdeen #25 Tucker DeYoung (F-Lake Bluff, IL)
2nd Star – Aberdeen #21 Bjorn Sigurdarson (F-Reykjavik, Iceland)
1st Star – Aberdeen #23 Jackson Graalum (F-Fargo, ND)