The Aberdeen Wings kick off the month of December on the road against the Austin Bruins.
The Bruins (13-7-1-2) currently sit at the top of the Central Division with 29 league points, while the Wings (11-10-0-1) are in fourth with 23 total points. But the division is tight — lower-seeded teams have risen to the occasion to defeat higher-ranked teams fairly regularly throughout the first third of the 2021-22 season. Add in the fact that some teams have played more games than others; Minot, for example, has played 25 games so far this year, while the St. Cloud Norsemen have only hit the ice 18 times.
Austin swept the North Iowa Bulls last weekend in Mason City, IA to take over the top spot in the division. But just two points separate the Bruins from third-ranked Minot, and 14 points separate first from sixth-ranked Bismarck, who swept the Norsemen last weekend.
The Wings head into the weekend after splitting games against the Minotauros. Cade Neilson leads the team (and the entire North American Hockey League) in scoring with 35 total points, which come from eleven goals and 24 assists. Jacob Bosse, Kyle Gaffney and Ronan Walsh round out the top points earners on the team with 18, 13 and 12 points, respectively. Neilson leads the team with eleven goals, while Walsh is right behind him with nine goals in just twelve games played.
Austin is led by Carson Riddle, who has 25 points on the year. Two other forwards, Jens Richards and Sutter Muzzatti, also have over 20 points to their name: Richards sits at 23 and Muzzatti at 22. Richards also has the most goals for the Bruins so far this year, scoring twelve, while Riddle is right behind him at ten.
Both teams have scored 75 goals so far this season; the Bruins have allowed 64 goals and the Wings have allowed 68. What’s even closer is their penalty kill — Austin has taken over the NAHL’s top spot with a 90.1 kill percentage, while the Wings are right behind them in second with a 88.3 percentage. Austin is at 23.5 percent on the power play, while the Wings sit at 18.8 percent.
The Wings have just two home games before the holiday break when they host the Minotauros once again at the Odde Ice Center in Aberdeen on Dec. 10 and 11. We invite fans to this special weekend at the Odde, where the Wings will be wearing specialty jerseys for the DTOM Veterans Ranch south of Aberdeen — a jersey auction will take place immediately following Saturday’s game.
The Wings are on the road on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 17 and 18 at the St. Cloud Norsemen. Teams have the Christmas weekend off before returning to the ice on New Years Eve — that’s when the Norsemen will travel to the Odde to face the Wings at home on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1.
Fans can watch all away games using their HockeyTV login or live at Buffalo Wings & Rings in Aberdeen. Listen to the game’s audio via Hub City Radio’s 94.1 The Rock or download The Rock app. Advance tickets for Wings home games are available on tickets.AberdeenWings.com. Stay tuned to AberdeenWings.com or follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for details on upcoming games.