It wasn’t the start the Wings wanted, nor the finish.
They had a perfect penalty kill and outshot their opponent, but the Aberdeen Wings fell 4-1 Friday night against the Minot Minotauros inside the Odde Ice Center.
Minot got on the board first just over a minute into the game off a goal from David Nesburg, then added a second at the 12:11 mark from Connor McGrath. The Minotauros edged out the Wings in shots on goal 10-9 and skated into the first break with the two-point cushion.
Minot took a three-goal lead at the 3:43 mark in the middle stanza when Zach Simon snuck one past Wings goaltender Dominik Wasik. But Aberdeen responded back late in the period and on the power play. That’s when Seamus Campbell took a pass from Hugo Allais and walked it into the circle, firing a shot into the top corner that sent the Minot goaltender’s water bottle flying at the 19:37 mark. It was Campbell’s seventh goal of the season, while Allais notched his eighth assist and Jackson Yee got his fourth.
The Wings started to apply the pressure in the middle period, outshooting Minot 16-12, but still faced the two-goal deficit heading into the game’s final 20 minutes.
Aberdeen killed two penalties in the third but never had a power play chance themselves and couldn’t find the right shots to get back in the game. At the 19:05 mark, with Wasik pulled from between the pipes, Simon scored an empty-netter for the Minotauros, sealing the Wings’ fate. Aberdeen outshot Minot 14-8 in the final period — and 39-30 but nonetheless took the 4-1 loss.
Wings head coach Steve Jennings wanted his team to get a good start, but the early goal against seemed to suck a little energy from the group, something he was hoping they’d get back.
“In the second period it did for sure, but we were chasing at that point,” he said. “We did not have the start we needed, and when we don’t start on time, we make life really hard for ourselves. Some of our veteran guys that usually perform well for us were just off tonight.”
He was happy with the specialty teams unit, who went 1-2 on the power play and killed all four Minot chances.
“We need to gain goals on the power play and we did,” he said. “They created momentum for us when we needed it. I didn’t like the penalties; i thought they were undisciplined and unnecessary.”
Minot netminder Carter Clafton denied 38 of Aberdeen’s 39 chances, while Wasik stopped 26 of 29.
Aberdeen fans are invited to Saturday’s rematch inside the Odde as the two teams face off once again. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the puck hits the ice at 7:15 p.m. Be sure to check out the team’s specialty DTOM Veteran’s Ranch jerseys, which will be auctioned off following Saturday’s game in our second jersey auction of the season.
After touring the DTOM ranch on Thursday, Coach Jennings is proud to partner with the non-profit and hopes fans will come out to bid on the game-worn jerseys — and he hopes his team is ready to step up to the challenge of snagging two coveted league points and a weekend split.
“It’s a cause that, I think, links well with our values as a team and a franchise,” he said of of the ranch. “We like to see that connection in the way the kids play and perform, and I don’t think we were consistent in that tonight.”
We welcome Cash-Wa Distributing as the game’s corporate sponsor Saturday night as well. And as an added treat, we’ll be premiering the 2021 Wings Holiday Video during the game’s first intermission. Fans can purchase tickets online at tickets.AberdeenWings.com or at the door. $10 general admission tickets are also available at any C-Express location in Aberdeen, with additional purchase.