The Aberdeen Wings are off to an unprecedented start to the 2020-21 hockey season, sitting at 22-1-0-0 just over a third of the way through regulation play.
And after an undefeated January, they head into February with plenty of accolades in tow.
The team’s sole loss came the day before the holiday break, falling 4-0 to St. Cloud on Dec. 19. Since the break, they’ve won their last seven, outscoring their opponents 30-3.
The perfect January started on the first day of the new year when the Wings defeated the visiting Bismarck Bobcats 4-1. The following day, the Wings snagged a 3-1 win over the Bobcats — and head coach Scott Langer became the winningest coach in the North American Hockey League (NAHL) with 603 career wins.
Following the weekend performance, Wings goalie Jake Sibell was named the NAHL’s Central Division Star of the Week. He made 69 of 71 saves over the weekend. Forward Payton Matsui was given 2nd Star honors.
The winning streak continued after a weekend off — on Jan. 15, Aberdeen defeated the visiting St. Cloud Norsemen 6-0, exacting revenge on the one team that delivered a loss. The Wings followed suit Saturday night, blanking the Norsemen again 4-0.
After the dominating performance, Sibell was once again given the NAHL Central Division Star of the Week honors, notching 49 saves over the weekend. And once again, Matsui earned the 2nd Star honors.
On Friday, Jan. 22, Aberdeen hit the road for the first time since Dec. 5; the Wings powered through the Fairbanks Ice Dogs with a 2-0 win Friday. A crushing 8-0 victory followed Saturday; in the process, Sibell notched his fourth consecutive shutout.
Not only did the Wings outscore their opponents 10-0 two weekends in a row, but Star of the Week honors came the Wings’ way once again. This time, Matsui earned the top Central Division Star of the Week honors after putting up six points (two goals and four assists) against Fairbanks. Sibell took home the week’s 2nd Star honors.
January’s final game was an unusual Wednesday game when the Wings hosted the Minot Minotauros on Feb. 27. Minot was able to sneak one by Sibell, but the Wings snagged their seventh straight win and 22nd overall with a 3-1 victory.
The Wings defeated every opponent in January and swept the month’s first and second star honors, while Coach Langer improved his winningest mark to 608. They currently sit at the top of the Central Division and the entire NAHL standings with 44 points.
Wings players’ names currently pepper the leaderboards across the NAHL.
- Matsui and Wings captain Clayton Cosentino are currently tied for second place on the overall points leaderboard, each with 32 points.
- Matsui and Natan Vertes each have 14 goals on the season, which ties them for first place in the NAHL.
- Cosentino has the top assist spot with 26 so far this season.
- Sibell is the league’s top goalie with a perfect 19-0 record. He leads the NAHL with a 1.01 goals-against average, a .960 save percentage and eight shutouts.
- The top four plus-minus spots are all held by Wings players: Nico deVita with 31, Matsui with 23 and Trevor Russell and Vertes with 20 each.
- The team leads the NAHL in goals-for, scoring 108 in 23 games played, an average of 4.7 per game. The Wings also lead the league in goals-against, only allowing 26. Overall, Aberdeen has outscored their opponents by 82 goals, which also leads the entire NAHL.
The Wings have a rare weekend off — they return to play on Friday, Feb. 5 when they host the Minnesota Wilderness for the first time this season. Fans can purchase tickets ahead of the game at tickets.AberdeenWings.com. Follow the Wings on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest updates and special annoucements.