The Aberdeen Wings pushed back through adversity Friday night, skating to their third overtime win of the season in a 4-3 victory over the Austin Bruins inside the Odde Ice Center.
They led by as much as two goals during the contest, but the Bruins pushed back and forced the game to overtime. And it was Nikolai Tishkevich, who recently signed a college commitment with American International College, who lit the lamp with just over a minute remaining in the overtime period to take the win for the Wings.
The game was scoreless after the first period, with Aberdeen outshooting Austin 10-7 and also killing off a penalty.
The Wings killed off their second penalty in the opening minutes of the second period before going on their first power play of the game. With 30 seconds remaining with the man-advantage, Devon Carlstrom fired a shot from the blue line that was saved by Bruins’ goaltender Ethan Robertson, but Dylan Wegner was right there to put the rebound into the back of the net at the 8:14 mark. Wegner picked up his third goal of the season, while Carlstrom notched his sixth assist and Kyle Contessa racked up his tenth.
Less than two minutes later, Aberdeen doubled their lead when the Wings fed the puck out from behind Austin’s net to Jonathan Barker, who fired from the point through traffic — and Landon Parker was there to get a stick on it as the puck nailed the top corner of the net at the 9:55 mark. Parker got his sixth goal on the year, while Barker got his second assist and Tishkevich picked up his tenth.
The Bruins pulled back within one when Nick Blood scored at the 11:36 mark in the second, but the Wings took back their two-goal lead two minutes later. Barker skated the puck in from the boards and fed to Nils Forselius, who skated into the crease and went around Robertson at the 13:59 mark. Forselius grabbed his sixth goal on the season, while Barker got his second assist of the game, third overall, and Zachary Reim picked up his fifth.
The Wings dominated the second period, killing off two more penalties and outshooting Austin 16-9, and led 3-1 as they headed into the game’s final 20 minutes.
The teams started the third playing 4-on-4 hockey but the Wings quickly took a penalty in the opening minute, which led to a 4-on-3 advantage for the Bruins. And James Goffredo brought his team back within one when he scored at the 1:35 mark in the final stanza. But after the goal, the Wings were still on the kill and the Bruins scored again when Walter Zacher got past goaltender Geno Pichora at the 2:19 mark. With the game tied at three apiece, Austin killed off their second penalty of the game and kept the score even, outshooting Aberdeen 11-8 in the period.
Both teams had good control of the puck during the overtime period, but Aberdeen fired off four total shots while Austin only got one. And it was that fourth shot that sealed the deal for the Wings. Tishkevich skated the puck into the Bruins’ zone and got the puck poked away from him, but Parker picked it up, skating into the circle before turning and passing back to Tishkevich. He immediately fired, making the back of the net billow at the 3:48 mark in overtime to take the win. It was his tenth goal on the season, while Parker got his eleventh assist and Carlstrom got his second of the game, seventh overall.
After the dust settled, the Wings outshot Austin 38-28 while going 1-2 on the power play; Austin went 2-4 on their power play. Pichora denied 25 of the 28 shots he faced, taking his third win on the season in four games played.
“I thought we created good chances tonight,” Wings head coach Scott Langer said. “Their goaltending is at the top of the league and you need to create chances to be successful. Staying persistent was the key the win.”
And with Austin being the top team in the Central Division for league points, he was pleased with how his team limited their chances.
“Austin has a skilled, solid skating hockey team,” he said. “The only way to be successful is to put the work in defensively.”
Despite losing the lead and going to overtime, Langer said he knew his team was ready for the challenge.
“Honestly, I think our guys have some confidence playing in OT,” he added. “They stick to the plan.”
The Wings will look to complete the weekend sweep Saturday night when the two teams face each other once again inside the Odde. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with the puck scheduled to drop at 7:15 p.m. Fans can purchase tickets ahead of the matchup online at tickets.AberdeenWings.com or at the door on game nights. For Saturday’s game, fans can contribute to our Hat and Mitten drive — a donation at the door will get a $5 general admission ticket. $10 general admission tickets can also be purchased at any C-Express location in Aberdeen, with additional purchase.
The Aberdeen Cougar mites and termites will play a scrimmage during Saturday’s first intermission game. We also welcome Bank North as the game’s corporate sponsor inside the AutoMaxx Party Deck. Fans are invited to stick around after the game for another Danger Von Dempsey’s Skate with the Wings.
As Langer and Co. look ahead to the matchup, he said they know they need to keep their momentum and limit their mistakes against a good team.
“We have to have an honest approach to tomorrow’s game,” he said. “We need to have our best game of the weekend.”