The Aberdeen Wings continue their January road stretch with a trip north to face the Minot Minotauros on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 13-14, 2023.
The Minotauros (18-14-1-1) bumped up to second place in the Central Division standings last week after taking two of three games against the St. Cloud Norsemen, suffering a 9-2 Thursday loss before taking wins both Friday and Saturday. They’re 5-5-0-0 in their last ten games after bouncing back from a five-game losing streak in December.
The Wings (17-11-1-2) sit just a point behind them in the standings, but have also played three less games, thus holding a higher win percentage at this point in the season.
The two teams have only met twice so far in the 2023-24 season, with the Wings getting one win and one overtime loss way back in October in Minot’s barn. Minot holds a 10-6-0-1 record while playing on home ice, while Aberdeen is 7-7-1-1 on the road this year.
Statically, Minot has the upper hand in regards to the power play, holding a 20.93 percent success rate while the Wings sit at 16.8 percent. But Aberdeen has the edge on the penalty kill, owning an 84.09 kill rate compared to Minot’s 76.23 percent.
The Minotauros have also scored more goals on the season, netting 108 compared to Aberdeen’s 92, but the Wings have allowed less goals to be scored, giving up 90 compared to Minot’s 116. That’s a difference of +2 for Aberdeen and -8 for Minot.
The Wings look to rely on more scoring from their top performers so far this season — Nikolai Tishkevich leads the team with 23 points (11G, 12A) followed by Landon Parker (9-13-22), Alexander Gullichsen (10-10-20) and Patrick O’Connell (3-17-20). Minot is led by Hunter Longhi (12-29-41), Chase LaPinta (18-13-31) and Justin Dauphinais (10-15-25). Aberdeen will attempt to stop two scoring streaks — Longhi is riding a 13-game point streak and LaPinta has scored in the last ten.
Goaltending could be a deciding factor in the weekend’s games. The Wings have relied heavily on Cole Moore, who has appeared in 23 games so far this season, holding a 13-7-1-2 record, a 2.7 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage. But the return of Geno Pichora has lightened Moore’s load — Pichora has played in seven games, holding a 4-3-0-0 recored, a 2.66 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage.
On the other side of the rink, Lawton Zacher has been the go-to for the Minotauros. He’s played in 15 games so far this season, holding a 10-3-0-1 record, a 2.39 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage. He appeared in both games against the Wings back in October, allowing two goals in a 3-2 overtime win and three goals in a 4-2 loss. Erik Chaffe, recently acquired from the North Iowa Bulls, made his Minot debut in Jan. 7’s 6-3 win over the St. Cloud Norsemen.
Following the road weekend in Minot, the Wings return to the Odde Ice Center for their lone Thursday matchup of the season as they host the Bismarck Bobcats on Jan. 19. The Wings hit the road the next day to head to Bismarck for the weekend, Jan. 20-21, before finishing January at home once again against the Bobcats on Jan. 27-28.
Fans can watch the action on the road using their HockeyTV login (away audio) or at Buffalo Wings & Rings in Aberdeen, the official home for all Wings away games. The game’s audio is broadcast via Hub City Radio’s 94.1 The Rock, or on The Rock app.
Tickets are available for the three January home games online at tickets.AberdeenWings.com or at the door on game nights. $10 general admission tickets are also available at any C-Express location in Aberdeen, with additional purchase.
Stay tuned to AberdeenWings.com or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more gameday updates.