The Aberdeen Wings wanted to get off to a quick start in their run for the 2021 Robertson Cup — and they did just that Friday afternoon, downing the Minnesota Magicians 5-1 inside Fogerty Arena.
The Wings tallied three big goals in the first period to give themselves a cushion, and Natan Vertes added two more in the second to seal the deal for Aberdeen.
In a fairly typical fashion, the Wings were the ones to get on the board first when defenseman Christian Abrams fired from the blue line just over four minutes into the game for his second postseason goal. Later in the period, at the 17:09 mark, Kyle Gaffney dribbled the puck in between the circles and around Magicians goaltender Andy Beran to give the Wings the 2-0 lead, scoring his third postseason goal in the process.
One minute later, the Wings went on the power play — and just 40 seconds after that, Will Arquiett fired from the circle for the 3-0 lead. It was Arquiett’s fourth postseason goal, while Cullen Ferguson notched his fifth postseason assist. The Wings killed off one penalty while going 1-1 on the power play and headed into the first break with the three-point cushion.
Just under seven minutes into the second period, the Magicians got on the board with a goal from Hunter Longhi. But Vertes got one back for the Wings when he took a beautiful pass from Clayton Cosentino to face Beran 1-on-1, finding the back of the net at the 13:28 mark.
But he wasn’t done yet.
In the period’s final minutes, he skated in front of Minnesota’s goal, drug the puck between his legs and took a backhanded shot at the goal — then picked up his own rebound to put the Wings up 5-1. It was his fifth postseason goal, while Jake Goldowski grabbed his third postseason assist.
“It was important to get out early in game one,” Wings head coach and general manager Scott Langer said after the win. “It allowed us to settle in and play our game.”
Overall, the Wings outshot the Magicians 37-21, thanks, in part, to a big second period in which they outshot Minnesota 18-9. They also went 1-1 on the power play while holding Minnesota to 0-3.
Beran went 32-37 in Friday’s game, while Jake Sibell denied 20 of 21 for the win. In postseason play, he improves to a 1.91 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage.
The two teams will face off for Game 2 Saturday at 4:30 p.m. Langer is excited to get back on the ice.
“It takes a lot to get to Fogerty, especially this season,” he said. “It’s very rewarding. The memories I had prior to puck drop were pretty special.”
Fans can watch the game using their HockeyTV login, and the game will be broadcast live at Buffalo Wings & Rings in Aberdeen. The game’s audio is always broadcast via Hub City Radio’s 94.1 The Rock.