Wings fall in season’s first exhibition match

Less than a week out from the Aberdeen Wings’ 2021-22 North American Hockey League (NAHL) season debut, the Wings took to the ice for their first preseason game, falling to the North Iowa Bulls 7-1 in Mason City, IA Friday night.

After a scoreless first period, Aberdeen dominated shots on goal 10-3. But the Bulls scored on their fourth shot of the game to give North Iowa the 1-0 lead. They scored again at the 12:36 mark in the second to give themselves the 2-0 cushion. The Wings answered back 34 seconds later when Will Gilson took a pass at the top of the crease to put the Wings back within one, with Kyle Gaffney and Hugo Gustafsson getting credit for the assists. But the Bulls took just 17 seconds to get back up by two and skated into the final intermission leading 3-1.

North Iowa snuck a fourth goal past Wings goaltender Jed Baliotti, then found success on the power play shortly after to take the 5-1 lead. The Bulls also killed two penalties, including a 5-on-3 attack, and put two more past Baliotti in the third to skate to the 7-1 victory.

Overall, North Iowa stayed perfect on the penalty kill, denying all six chances the Wings had. While Aberdeen went 0-6, the Bulls went 1-4. The Wings inched out the Bulls on shots on goal 29-28.

Baliotti stopped 21 of 28 shots sent his way.

The teams will have an exhibition rematch tomorrow afternoon at North Iowa; puck drops at 3 p.m. Fans can watch the game live using their HockeyTV login, or at Buffalo Wings & Rings in Aberdeen.

The Wings will return home for a couple days before heading to the NAHL Showcase in Blaine, MN to officially kick off the 2021-22 season. Their first game is Wed., Sept. 15 vs. the Johnstown Tomahawks with a 1:45 p.m. puck drop. Click here to see their complete NAHL Showcase schedule.