The Aberdeen Wings had payback on their minds when the puck dropped Thursday night against the Shreveport Mudbugs at the NAHL Showcase in Blaine, MN.
But after nearly 60 minutes of hard-fought hockey, they fell just short 1-0 in a battle for two coveted league points.
Each team went back and forth for the first 40 minutes of play, but neither team could find the back of the net. Aberdeen killed off one penalty and outshot Shreveport 16-13 in that span, and when the final period started, each team was still looking for the game’s first goal.
“It was a heavyweight fight,” Wings head coach Steve Jennings said. “It was two teams showing in mid-season form, up and down the ice hard.”
The Mudbugs killed a Wings penalty early in the third and the teams played two minutes of 4-on-4 hockey, in which neither team scored. Then late in the period, Shreveport caught a lucky bounce to get the edge at the 16:48 mark. Less than a minute later, the Wings took another penalty and, while they killed off the extra attacker, couldn’t get one past Mudbugs goaltender Devon Bobak.
Overall, the Wings edged out the Mudbugs in shots on goal, taking 25 while holding Shreveport to 23. Aberdeen went 0-1 on the power play while killing two Mudbug penalties, effectively remaining perfect on the penalty kill over their first two games.
Bobak was perfect in net, stopping all 25 shots he faced. Wings netminder Kyle Kozma denied 22-23 shots in his season debut and, despite the loss, Jennings was very pleased with his performance.
“I thought he was tremendous. He kept us in the game,” he said. “The boys did a good job in front of him; we blocked a lot of shots tonight. We needed Kozma to come up big and he did. We had an unfortunate bounce that didn’t go our way, but I thought he played a fantastic game tonight.”
Aberdeen (1-1-0-0) turns right around for their third opponent of the weekend when they face the Springfield Jr. Blues (4-0-0-0) Friday night. Puck drops at 7:15 p.m.
“We’ll need rest and recovery from tonight’s game,” Jennings said. “We’re basically through what would be a typical weekend, with two games still to go. We’ll make some adjustments and give some kids the opportunity to play and give us some juice.”
Wings fans can watch the game using their HockeyTV login or live at Buffalo Wings and Rings in Aberdeen, the official home of Wings away games. The Wings will play their final game of the weekend when they face the Corpus Christi IceRays Saturday at 1 p.m.