Wings fall in penalty-ridden game Saturday

The road weekend inside Riverside Arena was filled with few goals and plenty of whistles, with 13 penalties called in Saturday’s matchup alone between the Aberdeen Wings and the Austin Bruins. And after 60 minutes of hard-fought hockey, the Wings failed to mount a comeback, falling 4-2 against the top-ranked Bruins.

Aberdeen got on the board first Saturday when Landon Parker scored on the Wings’ second shot on goal. While on their first power play of the game, the puck was cycled around before Logan Gravink fed to Parker, who fired from the circle to give the Wings their only lead at the 4:04 mark. It was Parker’s ninth goal on the season, while Gravink earned his fifth assist.

The Wings had another brief power play, followed by a penalty that led to four-on-four hockey and Austin’s first power play chance of the game. The Wings staved off the attack, but the Bruins responded later in the period when Austin Salani fired from the point at the 7:24 mark.

Aberdeen went on to kill a four-minute double-minor penalty later, and Cole Moore kept the score tied after he denied a shorthanded breakaway. The Wings had yet another brief power play before taking a penalty themselves, and the Bruins had their third chance with the extra attacker, which the Wings denied. Late in the period, the teams played four-on-four hockey for the third time in the game.

After the dust settled in the first 20 minutes, each team had four power play chances, with the Wings capitalizing on one of them. Austin outshot Aberdeen 11-6 and the teams skated into the first break tied up at one apiece.

While the Wings controlled the game’s opening few minutes, the Bruins had a hold on the start of the second. Aberdeen couldn’t clear their zone and the puck took a weird bounce, which led to Sam Christiano scoring at the 2:25 mark. Less than a minute later, another unlucky bounce led to the Bruins’ third goal of the game when Matys Brassard gave his team the 3-1 lead at the 3:09 mark.

But Aberdeen wouldn’t go away — later in the period, Ronan Walsh delivered a big hit in the corner and the puck popped out from behind Austin’s net to a waiting Logan Gravink, who buried the shot to bring his team back within one at the 9:36 mark.

Just a single penalty was issued in the middle stanza, but Aberdeen killed off the attack. The Bruins once again outshot the Wings, this time 12-5, and took the one-goal lead into the game’s final break.

The game’s final goal once again came quickly into the period when Walter Zacher scored at the 1:12 mark to give the Bruins the 4-2 lead. Eight more penalties were assessed, with Austin getting three more power play chances and the Wings getting one, but neither team could capitalize. Despite giving themselves the extra attacker in the game’s final minutes, Aberdeen couldn’t score again and the Bruins took the win on home ice.

Each team took eight shots in the game’s final period, and the Bruins outshot the Wings overall 31-19. Aberdeen went 1-5 on the power play and managed to hold Austin to 0-8. Moore denied 27 shots in the loss.

Just over halfway through the season, the two teams have now played each other ten times, with the Wings carrying a 5-4-0-1 record. The Bruins widened their lead at the top of the Central Division, sitting 12 points ahead of Aberdeen, who drop to third place in the standings.

Aberdeen will have a hard week of practice before hitting the road once again, this time to face the Minot Minotauros on Jan. 13-14. Minot, who swept the St. Cloud Norsemen over the weekend, bumped up to second place and sit a point ahead of the Wings as their weekend matchup approaches.

Fans can watch the weekend’s games online 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 will be broadcast via Hub City Radio’s 94.1 The Rock, or on The Rock app.