Three weeks into the season, the Aberdeen Wings finally got to play in front of their home crowd at the Odde Ice Center.
But the puck luck just wasn’t in their favor Friday night as they fell 3-1 against the St. Cloud Norsemen.
Aberdeen was the first to get on the board at the 4:25 mark when Seamus Campbell centered a perfect pass for Nate Mann, who put it home to give the Wings the 1-0 lead. It was Mann’s second goal on the season, Campbell’s third assist, and Owen DuBois grabbed his fourth apple on the year.
The tides turned after that as the Norsemen scored three goals, one in each period. The first came from John Opilka to tie the score at one apiece with just over two minutes to play in the first. Nearly 14 minutes into the second period, Logan Kittleson gave St. Cloud the 2-1 when he snuck a slow bounce past Wings goaltender Kyle Kozma. St. Cloud’s final goal of the night came at the 6:42 mark in the third when Hunter Hanson broke behind the defense, going one-on-one with Kozma and sliding it in the bottom corner.
St. Cloud outshot the Wings 35-22 overall, with a big boost in the middle period where they outshot Aberdeen 15-6. But the Wings came back firing in the third, a move that Wings head coach Steve Jennings was pleased to see.
“Our penalty kill was good again,” he said. “I think our third period was better. We generated more opportunities and played more in their end, and our compete was better.”
The Wings were perfect on the penalty kill for their third straight game, killing two Norsmen attacks. They went 0-1 on the power play.
Kozma, who Jennings credited with keeping the Wings in the game, denied 32 of the 35 shots he faced, while Norsemen netminder Ethan Dahlmeir denied 21 of 22. Looking ahead to Saturday’s rematch, Jennings wants to be the team that drives the momentum.
“Our first two periods were too flat and we were chasing the game again,” he said. “I liked Mann’s goal, and we got a spark, but we just didn’t sustain it. Although we gave up a lot of shots, we didn’t give up a lot of great chances. But they still had too many opportunities.
“We just need better energy from the start,” he added. “We have to play the full 60 minutes. We have to make people chase us.”
Doors open at the Odde Ice Center at 5:30 p.m. Saturday night, with the puck dropping at 7:15 p.m. Fans can purchase tickets ahead of the game at tickets.AberdeenWings.com. $10 general admission tickets can be purchased at any of the C-Express locations in Aberdeen, with additional purchase. $14 AutoMaxx Party Deck barstool seats are also available; call Aaron at 605-380-5852 for tickets.
Fans can stick around after the game for the season’s first Skate with the Wings event.