A big third period wasn’t enough for the Aberdeen Wings, who fell 2-1 Saturday night against a veteran St. Cloud Norsemen team.
The young Aberdeen squad, who are now 4-4-0-0 on the season, had some big opportunities that head coach Steve Jennings was happy to see, and he’s excited about the promise of getting better as the season progresses.
“We had some great looks with the extra attacker and some good opportunities to get back in,” he said after the game. “Our energy and engagement was way better (than Friday night).”
Similar to Friday’s matchup, it was the Wings who got on the board first when Cade Neilson broke through the defense and got the perfect feed to go backhand past St. Cloud goaltender Josh Langford. It was Neilson’s fourth goal on the season, while Patrick O’Connell and Parks Wallace each picked up their first assists.
The Wings held the 1-0 lead heading into the first intermission, but St. Cloud answered back twice in the middle period. Blake Mesenburg tied the game at one apiece at the 8:38 mark, and Ryan O’Neill managed to sneak one past Wings goalie Dominik Wasik after he made the initial save, but it trickled past him.
Aberdeen was outshot 16-13 in the first two periods, but managed to tie the shots on goal at 20 each by the time the final buzzer sounded. The Wings went 0-3 on the power play, but killed off five penalties, making it their fourth straight game of killing off the extra-man attacks.
“We were better,” Jennings said. “We didn’t let them roll on us. We asked for a more physical game and the guys delivered. We did everything right except outscoring them. That’s a challenge with a younger team sometimes.”
Langford was solid in net for the Norsemen, denying 19 of the 20 shots he faced, while Wasik was equally as good, denying 18 of 20.
“Dom gave us a chance to win the game,” Jennings said. “He made some big saves and he put us in a good position to win. It was a great response from him from last weekend.”
The Wings head to face the Bismarck Bobcats (1-7-0-0) next weekend, October 8-9, then have the following weekend off. Fans can watch the road game using their HockeyTV login, or live at Buffalo Wing & Rings in Aberdeen, the official home for Wings away games.