The reigning Robertson Cup National Champions are headed back to fight for the big prize.
The Aberdeen Wings swept the Minnesota Magicians after a 2-1 win Saturday afternoon, which means they’ll advance to the championship bout Tuesday night at 7 p.m. They’ll face the Shreveport Mudbugs, who swept the Maine Nordiques in two games.
Scoring started early for the Wings when Natan Vertes put one in the back of the net just 24 seconds into the game. That was his sixth postseason goal, with the assist going to Kevin MacKay, his third, and Trevor Russel, who picked up his fifth.
However, the Magicians answered back four minutes later when Hunter Longhi snuck one back Wings goaltender Jake Sibell. Aberdeen took ten shots while holding the Magicians to just four, but the teams headed into the first break tied 1-1.
The second period was an even match: Aberdeen outshot Minnesota 11-10, neither team took a penalty and neither team managed to score.
The third period looked to be similar to the second, except the Wings managed to take plenty of shots at Magicians goaltender Andy Beran. Each team killed off a penalty apiece and Aberdeen outshot Minnesota 11-5. At the 18:35 mark, over 58 minutes since the game’s first goal, the Wings took the lead when Payton Matsui fed Kyle Gaffney for the game-winner. It was Gaffney’s fourth postseason goal, and Matsui’s and Nico deVita’s sixth postseason assists.
The Magicians pulled Beran with less than a minute to play, giving themselves the six-man attack, but the Wings’ solid defense kept Minnesota at bay and ultimately lead to the series sweep, paving the way for the national championship game.
That matchup is slated for Tuesday, June 22 at 7 p.m. at Fogerty Arena in Blaine.
Wings goalie Jake Sibell denied 18 of the 19 shots sent his way. The NAHL’s Most Valuable Player and Goalie of the Year improves to a 1.83 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage in postseason play.
A fan bus is heading to Blaine for Tuesday’s game — fans can contact Aaron Smith at 605-380-5852 or email@example.com to reserve their spot. Cost is $50 per person, which includes their ticket to the game.
For those that can’t make the trip, the game is broadcast over HockeyTV, or fans can join the watch party at Buffalo Wings and Rings in Aberdeen. The game’s audio is broadcast over Hub City Radio’s 94.1 The Rock.