The Aberdeen Wings claimed their 43rd win of the 2020-21 hockey season with a big 7-2 win over the Minot Minotauros on the Pepsi Rink inside Maysa Arena in Minot Friday night.
It was a rematch, of sorts, after the Minotauros shutout the Wings the last time the two teams met in MInot. But this time, however, the Wings had an incredible finish to take the two points and remain at the top of the Central Division and the entire North American Hockey League.
Minot got on the board first — and quickly at that — when Brett Roloson beat Wings netminder Jake Sibell just 26 seconds into the game. Then, at the 11:13 mark, Max Bogdanovich gave the Minotaurs the 2-0 cushion. The Wings outshot the Minotauros 11-8 but headed into the first intermission needing to play catchup.
And catch up they did. And then some, scoring seven unanswered goals.
It all started five-and-a-half minutes into the second period when Minot goalie Keenan Rancier denied a shot from Will Arquiett, but Michael Reed was there to grab the rebound and put the Wings on the board. Also assisting on the goal was Jake Goldowski, who notched his 7th apple of the season. Three minutes later, at the 8:22 mark, Reed got his second goal of the night and ninth on the season when he redirected a shot from Marshall Walker, who nabbed his 6th assist. Jakob Stender also got credit for the assist, picking up his 12th on the season.
The teams stayed tied 2-2 for nine minutes before the Wings gave themselves the edge. At the 17:25 mark, Wings captain Clay Cosentino muscled past the Minot defense to get to the side of the crease and bank one in off Rancier unassisted, snagging his ninth goal of the year. Then, just 29 seconds later, Natan Vertes sped down the wall and sent a shot towards the Minotauros goal — when his shot was deflected, Liam Fraser came crashing in to grab the rebound and the two-point cushion. Fraser picked up his 15th goal and Vertes grabbed his 16th assist.
The Wings fired 27 shots at Rancier in the middle period, with four of them finding a home in the back of the net. Sibell turned away 16 shots from Minot and entered the final intermission break with his team leading 4-2.
The Wings scoring barrage continued halfway into the third period when Jordan Randall grabbed a perfect pass from Kyle Gaffney and found the back of the net. Randall scored his 13th of the season and Gaffney picked up his 13th assist. Less than a minute later, Christian Abrams fired from the top of the circle and found a hole in the upper right side, scoring his fourth on the season and giving the Wings the 6-2 lead. Thomas Manty recorded his 23rd assist on the season on Abrams’ goal, while Kevin MacKay picked up his eleventh.
The game’s final goal came at the 13:34 mark; with the man-advantage, Jake Goldowski scored with ten seconds left on the power play, getting one past Rancier after a multitude of Wings shots. Cade Neilson got credit for his 31st assists on the season, while Arquiett racked up his second on the night and thirteenth of the year. After the final whistle blew, the Wings outshot the Minotauros 15-2 in the final period and 53-26 overall, grabbing the 7-2 victory and the two coveted league points.
“We came out flat and Minot capitalized,” Wings head coach and general manager Scott Langer said after the win. “The story to the game is the response our guys had coming out for the second period. We know we weren’t our best to start this game but the last two periods were hard, disciplined hockey.”
Langer praised his team’s ability to turn the momentum, utilizing their many skilled players to find success in myriad ways.
“When our team is on its game, we are utilizing all four lines both offensively and defensively,” he said. “Forty minutes of tonight’s game was all depth.”
Minot’s Rancier stopped 46 of 53 shots, while Sibell denied 24 of 26, claiming his 37th win in the process. He remains the NAHL’s top goalie with a 1.22 goals-against average and a .951 save percentage, allowing only 50 goals on 1,030 shots. The Wings stayed perfect on the penalty kill, holding Minot to 0-4 while going 1-4 on the power play.
The Wings head to Bismarck for a 7:15 p.m. puck drop inside the VFW Sports Arena Friday night. Fans can watch the game using their HockeyTV login or live at Buffalo Wings & Rings in Aberdeen. The game’s audio is broadcast over Hub City Radio’s 94.1 The Rock.
Aberdeen is back inside the Odde Ice Center on Saturday, April 24 to host the Bobcats. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the puck drops at 7:15 p.m.
“One period at a time,” Langer said ahead of his team’s three-game weekend. “This is a real test for us.”
Tickets can be purchased ahead of Saturday’s game at tickets.AberdeenWings.com; $10 general admission tickets can also be purchased at any of the four C-Express locations in Aberdeen, with additional purchase. Presentation College students receive free general admission to Saturday’s game with their valid Student ID, while area educators can receive $5 general admission with their valid school ID. The Wings also welcome corporate sponsor Hub City Radio.