For the second time in as many games, the Aberdeen Wings found themselves facing a shootout to decide the game’s fate.
And despite several key saves from goaltender Cole Moore, the Wings fell 2-1 against the Austin Bruins Friday night inside Riverside Arena.
Moore came up big in the opening period as the Bruins had two power play opportunities and the Wings had one. Austin outshot the Wings 10-6 and neither team scored as they headed into the first break.
Aberdeen came out firing in the middle stanza, taking a very brief 5-on-3 power play that they couldn’t capitalize on. Austin had two more power play chances, too, and Moore even turned away a penalty shot over halfway through the period. After outshooting Austin 12-6, the Wings headed into the final break still facing a scoreless game.
The third period started with 4-on-4 hockey, followed by another very brief Bruins power play that the Wings denied again. Less than two minutes after the Wings’ fifth power play opportunity of the game, Jaxon Grosdidier finally broke open the game’s scoring at the 7:40 mark in the third. That’s when Patrick O’Connell took a shot from the point and Grosdidier was there to find the rebound off Austin netminder’s Ethan Robertson’s pads for his second goal of the season. Barron Stibbe recorded his second assist on the year while O’Connell grabbed his fifth.
Five minutes after the Wings got the go-ahead, Elliot Lareau got the equalizer at the 13:46 mark. Defense prevailed for both teams in the third, with the Wings taking seven shots and Austin notching five — and when the final horn sounded, the game was sent to overtime.
Austin managed four shots in the overtime period while the Wings took two, with both teams killing a penalty in the extra five minutes of three-on-three hockey. And after a scoreless overtime period, Austin readied for their fourth shootout of the season, the Wings’ second.
Landry Schmuck went first for Aberdeen and scored, while Moore denied Bruins’ first shooter Lareau. Nikolai Tishkevich went second for Aberdeen, also scoring — as did Austin’s second shooter, Gavin Morrissey. Robertson stopped third shooter Nils Forselius while Josh Guiliani got past Moore. Fourth shooters — Jackson Anderson for Aberdeen and Damon Furseth for Austin — were denied, as were fifth shooters, Aberdeen’s Landon Parker and Austin’s Dylan Cook. Patrick O’Connell went sixth for the Wings, but was stopped by Robertson, while Ocean Wallace scored for the Bruins to take the win and snap their four-game losing streak.
Aberdeen picked up a point in the overtime loss.
Overall, the Wings edged out Austin 27-26 in shots on goal, while Austin went 0-7 on the power play and the Wings went 0-6. Wings head coach Scott Langer, back on Aberdeen’s bench for his first game after just a week of practice at the helm of the team, lauded his penalty kill unit after the game.
“Special teams are big and both teams found a way to shut down each other’s power play,” he said. “Defensively, our team did a solid job of eliminating chances.”
Despite the loss, Moore stood tall in net for Aberdeen, denying a penalty shot in the second period in addition to three of the six shootout players he faced. Overall, he denied 24 of the 25 shots he faced during the game.
“Cole Moore was outstanding tonight,” Langer said. “He gave us a chance on the road in a tough environment.”
Aberdeen (4-5-0-2) and Austin (5-1-0-3) will face off again Saturday night inside Riverside Arena as the Wings look to pick up the weekend split. For Langer, the goal for Saturday is simple.
“Bring the same work rate, take two points,” he said. “Three out of four points on the road is a good weekend.”
Puck drops in Austin at 7:05 p.m. Fans can watch the game using their HockeyTV login, or catch the action at Buffalo Wings & Rings in Aberdeen, the official home for all Wings away games. The game’s audio can be heard via Hub City Radio’s 94.1 The Rock.