It wasn’t the outcome the Aberdeen Wings were looking for, but head coach Steve Jennings was proud of his team following a 4-2 loss to the Austin Bruins Saturday night inside the Odde Ice Center.
The Wings got on the board late in the first when Cade Neilson stole the puck behind the net and fed it across the crease to Landry Schmuck, who buried it to get on the board first. It was Schmuck’s fourth goal of the season, while Neilson racked up his ninth assist.
The Bruins tied the game at the 3:44 mark in the second when Jen Richards got his eleventh goal of the season, but the Wings answered back less than three minutes later — that’s when Seamus Campbell moved the puck up the ice, skated around two defenders and shot a rocket past Austin goaltender Klayton Knapp to put the Wings back up by one. It was Campbell’s third goal on the season, while Anthony Messuri grabbed his fifth assist and Devon Carlstrom grabbed his first on the year.
Austin got another one in the second period when Jack Malinski scored at the 13:14 mark to tie the game a two apiece. The game’s physicality also picked up in the middle stanza, with each team trading penalties back and forth.
In the final period, Aberdeen outshot the Bruins but the puck would not make its way into the net. The Bruins grabbed two more goals, one from Matys Brassard at the 6:10 mark and another from Alex Trombley at the 12:27 mark, and the teams traded penalties, which prevented the Wings from grabbing the momentum they needed.
“We were right in it coming down the stretch,” Jennings said after the game. “We did a lot of important things, like scoring first and dictating the play, but the third was too much back and forth and we have to get better at it. Even though it’s tight, we can’t change our game.”
Dominik Wasik denied 20 of the 24 shots he faced, and Jennings was impressed with his goalie’s ability to give his squad the chance to win.
“I was very happy with his game,” he said. “I thought he kept us in it. We had two bad bounces last night, and another bad bounce tonight, but he gave us the chance to win.
“They’re both doing it for us,” he continued, including Hungarian goaltender Greg Orosz. “Wasik is doing what we need him to do and he should be building his confidence.”
Aberdeen went 0-6 on the power play, but denied all four Austin attacks as well.
“I thought our power play was good, we built some momentum,” Jennings said. “Our special teams have to continue to improve, but getting the kill back to zero was good.”
The Wings are on the road next weekend, kicking things off with a rare Thursday matchup against the Minot Minotauros. Puck drops at 7:05 p.m. at the Pepsi Rink inside Maysa Arena on Nov. 4. They’ll be back for their second game of the series on Saturday, Nov. 6 against the Minotauros with a 4:05 p.m. puck drop.
Fans can watch the game using their HockeyTV login, or at Buffalo Wings & Rings, the official home of all Wings away games. The game’s audio will be broadcast via Hub City Radio’s 94.1 the Rock, or fans can listen via The Rock app.
“They are coming together,” Jennings said of his young team. “But we need to make more progress. I’m proud of how they played this weekend.”