The Aberdeen Wings refuse to lose two games in a row.
After falling Friday night in Aberdeen, they rebounded for the 3-1 over the Bismarck Bobcats at the VFW Sports Center Saturday night.
Aberdeen, who improves to 42-4-0-1, continues to lead the North American Hockey League with 85 total points. Bismarck is second to the the Wings in the Central Division with 57 points.
The Wings got on the board first when Jake Goldowski notched his twelfth goal of the season at the 5:28 mark, snagging a tight-angled rebound to the put the Wings up 1-0. Michael Reed picked up his ninth assist, while Cullen Ferguson notched his tenth. With just over five minutes left in the period, Reed grabbed a goal of his own, picking up his seventh goal of the year. He was assisted by Will Arquiett and Trevor Russell, who notched his 28th assist of the season. Aberdeen outshot Bismarck 16-9 and headed into the first break with the 2-0 cushion.
Wings goalie Jake Sibell kept the Bobcats at bay in the middle period, turning away twelve shots. With 14 seconds left in the second, Natan Vertes found himself behind a defenseman and grabbed a tremendous pass from Jakob Stender, finding the bottom corner 1-on-1 with Bismarck goalie Ian Shane. Vertes recorded his 21st goal, and Stender notched his 11th assist with Seamus Campbell also getting an apple.
The Wings started the final period on a successful penalty kill, but found themselves playing down a man six minutes later. That’s when Isaac Henkemeyer-Howe got the Bobcats on the board to put Bismarck within two. Aberdeen killed two more penalties in the third and Sibell denied five more shots, including nearly two minutes of a Bobcat six-man offense. When the final horn sounded, the Wings took the 3-1 win and the two coveted points.
“Our guys knew they played well at home but didn’t find the result they wanted,” Wings head coach and general manager Scott Langer said. “Tonight was a ‘must bounce back’ type game and our guys were on top of their game in all three zones.”
Bismarck’s Shane stopped 21 of 24 shots, while Sibell denied 25 of 26. He remains the NAHL’s top goalie, holding a 35-2-0-1 record, a 1.20 goals-against average and a .952 save percentage.
“Jake was solid tonight,” Langer said. “It’s never easy winning on the road and Jake gave us that opportunity.”
The Wings have a busy weekend ahead of them, playing on the road twice before returning home to the Odde Ice Center. Action starts Thursday, April 22 at the Minot Minotauros, then back inside Bismarck’s barn on Friday, April 23. The Wings return to the Odde on Saturday, April 24 to host the Bobcats for the final time in the regular season.
“This upcoming three-game set will definitely test our will,” Langer said. “We will take it one game at a time as we prepare for two different opponents.”
Fans can catch Wings away games using their HockeyTV login or live at Buffalo Wings & Rings in Aberdeen. The game’s audio is always broadcast over Hub City Radio’s 94.1 The Rock.
Fans can also purchase tickets ahead of Saturday’s game at tickets.AberdeenWings.com. $10 general admission tickets can also be purchase at any of the four C-Express locations in Aberdeen, with additional purchase. Doors open at the Odde on the 24th at 5:30 p.m., and the puck drops at 7:15 p.m.