The Aberdeen Wings found themselves back in the win column after defeating the visiting Minnesota Wilderness 3-1 Saturday night at the Odde Ice Center.
The Wings improve to 23-1-0-1 on the season, while Minnesota falls to 6-6-1-1.
The two teams had a fairly even first period, with Aberdeen edging out the Wilderness in shots on goal 10-8. After a scoreless 20 minutes, the teams headed into the first break tied 0-0.
Things heated up in the second period when Payton Matsui drove one in to the goal line roughly five minutes in. The goal, however, was ultimately denied and play continued. At the 7:43 mark, Nathan Mann found the back of the net to put the Wings up 1-0. He was assisted by Cullen Ferguson and Nico deVita, who notched his eleventh assist of the season. Just under six minutes later, Minnesota’s Christian Galatz tied things up again. The two teams headed into the final intermission 1-1.
The third period was all Aberdeen, starting with a goal from Michael Reed at the 5:01 mark. The eventual game-winning goal was assisted by Liam Fraser and Cade Neilson, who picked up his 17th assist on the year. At the 12:09 mark, Clayton Cosentino gave the Wings the insurance they needed, assisted by Spencer Schneider and Jordan Randall.
“We got better as the game went on,” head coach Scott Langer said after the win. “I thought tonight, our guys grinded it out. Our third period was our best period; we tipped the ice in our direction.”
Aberdeen outshot Minnesota in all three periods, ultimately notching 40 shots compared to the Wilderness’ 21. Both teams went 0-4 on the power play, and Langer was happy with how well his team defended the net.
“We limited their chances both nights this weekend,” he said. “We are not giving a lot up, which gives us a chance to win. Special teams are very important and our penalty kill held them off the board.”
Wings goalie Jake Sibell stopped 20-21 shots faced, while Minnesota’s Kaleb Johnson stopped 37-40. Sibell improves to 20-0-0-1 on the year.
After snagging three of four points over the weekend, the Wings continue to sit at the top of the Central Division and the entire North American Hockey League with 47 points.
Aberdeen will travel to Austin next weekend, Feb. 12-13, to face the Bruins. The puck hits the ice at 7:05 p.m. at Riverside Arena. Fans can watch the game via their HockeyTV subscription or live at Buffalo Wings and Rings in Aberdeen, or listen via 94.1 The Rock.