The Aberdeen Wings controlled most of the game’s tempo Friday night, outshooting the North Iowa Bulls and holding onto zone pressure for the majority of the contest.
But the Wings couldn’t capitalize on any of their seven power play changes and gave up a shorthanded goal in the third, leading to a 4-1 loss inside Mason City Arena.
After a scoreless first period, with the Wings outshooting North Iowa 12-7, the teams headed into the second period the same way they started the first. But it was the Bulls who got on the board first when Simone Dadie scored at the 9:03 mark. And less than four minutes later, Jack Mesic doubled the Bulls’ lead when he fired from the blue line and through traffic at the 12:52 mark.
Starting at a two-goal deficit, Aberdeen answered back at the 17:42 mark. That’s when Barron Stibbe won a face-off in the North Iowa zone and the puck found its way to Dylan Wegner, who fired from between the circles and into the back of the net for his first goal on the season. Alexander Gullichsen racked up his seventh assist on the year, while Stibbe grabbed his third.
Aberdeen fired off 15 more shots in the second while holding North Iowa to nine but failed to score on three power play chances, and headed into the game’s final break trailing by one.
But despite once again being outshot by the Wings in the third, North Iowa capitalized twice to extend their lead again. The first goal came shorthanded from Eli Miller at the 6:19 mark, and Logan Dombrowsky got a power play goal less than two minutes later at the 8:13 mark for the 4-1 lead they never relinquished.
The Wings fired off eleven shots in the third while holding the Bulls to just six, overall outshooting North Iowa 38-22 thanks to some serious pressure in the opening two periods. But Bulls goaltender Mitch Day turned away 37 of those shots, plus helping his team shut down seven Wings power play opportunities while his team went 1-3 with the man-advantage.
“The specal team game didn’t end up in our favor,” Wings head coach Scott Langer said. “Bottom line is we need to be better in those areas. Execution will start to surface as we progress.”
At one point in the first period, Aberdeen had outshot North Iowa 9-1 but couldn’t find the back of the net. And the heavy zone presence was something Langer was happy to see. But the next step, he added, is to turn that into goals.
“The work ethic is there with our group,” he said. “Now we need to play a complete game. Scoring is hard to come by right now and no one is going to feel sorry for us. Time to harden up and earn our points.”
The teams will face each other for Round 2 Saturday night inside Mason City Arena once again with a 7:10 p.m. puck drop. Fans can watch the game using their HockeyTV login, or catch the action at Buffalo Wings & Rings, the official home for all Wings away games. The game’s audio will be broadcasted via Hub City Radio’s 941. The Rock.