The Aberdeen Wings fell in their home opener to the Bismarck Bobcats 3-1 on Friday night at the Odde Ice Center. The Wings have been waiting for hockey to return to The Odde and they showed up in force totaling 1,621, the 2nd largest crowd in franchise history for opening night.
The fans were on their feet ready for the game. The volume created by the crowd filled the arena which goes with what the NAHL said in their 24-for-24 Series when they named the Odde Ice Center the “Toughest Place To Play” in the league.
In the first period, the intensity of the game was just like any other Bobcats/Wings rivalry game. Big hits along the boards, scuffles in front of the nets. This game was shaping up to be a physical one and the Wings were leading much of the first period push. The Wings would go on the power play after an elbowing penalty to Bismarck and get on top with a goal from #24 Ronnie Hein (F-Chelsea, MI) with an assist from #13 Michael Soucier (F-Caledon, Ontario). The Wings outshot the Bobcats 11-7 in the first period.
The second period would see the play turn from bodies flying to puck control. The Wings had 13 shots on goal in the 2nd, but Bismarck goaltender Alex Bitsakis was calm in the net. The Wings would protect their net, only allowing 8 shots on goaltender #1 Chad Catt (G-Williamstown, MI), most of which were on power plays. Early on the Bobcats would get a goal from JM PIotrowski, a former member of the USHL’s Fargo Force. The Wings were able to kill a crucial penalty late in the period and hold the score to 1-1 going into the locker room.
The offensive game was evenly matched in the 3rd period as both teams had 9 shots on goal up to the last minute. Bismarck’s Logan Rivard would get a goal at the 5:29 mark making it 2-1. In the final minute, the Bobcats failed on three empty net shots before Evan Giesler found it 3 feet away to seal the 3-1 victory in the NAHL Central rivalry game. The Wings outshot the Bobcats 33-27. The Wings fall to 3-2-0 in the season and the Bobcats improve to 3-2-0.
ABERDEEN WINGS Stars of the Game
3rd Star – #15 Brendan Riordan (D-Downers Grove, IL)
2nd Star – #19 Colin O'Neill (F-Odenton, MD)
1st Star – #24 Ronnie Hein (F-Chelsea, MI)
BUTLER CAT Hit of the Game
#18 Austin Swingle (F-St. Cloud, MN)
The Aberdeen Wings are on the road Saturday to take on the Brookings Blizzard. You can hear the game on 94.1 The Rock or online at ESPNAberdeen.com. Also watch/listen on FASTHockey.com. The Wings return home October 10th and 11th to take on the Austin Bruins at the Odde Ice Center. Follow the Wings on Facebook and Twitter, or check AberdeenWings.com for special ticket offers and game promotions.