The Aberdeen Wings ran into a really hot goaltender Thursday night in Minot.
After a game that lasted nearly 100 minutes, the Minotauros ultimately beat the Wings 3-2. Keenan Rancier stopped 69 of the 71 shots sent his way, keeping his team’s playoff hopes alive and forcing a Game 4 in the Central Division Semifinals. Aberdeen now leads the series 2-1.
After a scoreless first period, Jake Goldowski got Aberdeen on the board first on the power play. The Wings cycled the puck around, finding Goldowski open on the near side for his first postseason goal, giving the Wings the 1-0 advantage at the 16:21 mark in the second. Cade Neilson notched his fifth assist in the semifinal series, while Will Arquiett notched his first.
After the second intermission, Minot came out hot when Logan Anderson put one past Jake Sibell just 16 seconds into the third period. The Minotauros eventually took the 2-1 lead when Brett Roloson got behind the defense at the 7:39 mark. However, Aberdeen answered back late in the period when Arquiett took a beauty pass from Nathan Mann, going top shelf to tie things up at two apiece. Both Mann and Goldowski each notched their first post-season assists on the play.
Aberdeen out shot Minot 12-7 in the first, 17-8 in the second and 17-15 in the third, but the two teams found themselves looking at extra hockey when the final horn sounded. The Wings once again outshot the Minotauros in the first overtime, taking 19 shots compared to eleven, but Rancier turned each one away and forced a second overtime.
After 96 minutes of hockey, Minot found the chance they were looking for when Cade Stibbe got one past Sibell to put the game to rest. The Minotauros finally managed to outshoot a strong Aberdeen team, taking ten shots while holding the Wings to six.
“I thought our entire team played a good road game,” Wings head coach and general manager Scott Langer said. “Just didn’t get the same bounces.”
Rancier’s 69 saves earned him the win, while Sibell denied 48 of 51. The Wings went 1-3 on the power play while holding Minot to 0-1.
With Minot’s playoff hopes still alive, the teams will face each other again inside the Maysa Arena Friday night in Minot. The puck drops at 7:05 p.m.
“We played a good hockey game. We ran into a tough goaltender,” Langer said. “Short memory and back at it tomorrow.”
Wings fans can catch the action using their HockeyTV login, or live at Buffalo Wings & Rings in Aberdeen. The game’s audio is broadcast over Hub City Radio’s 94.1 The Rock.