The Aberdeen Wings found themselves in an all-too familiar position Friday night inside the Odde Ice Center in Aberdeen — playing from behind and needing to catch up.
And when the final horn sounded, they were just one goal short, losing 4-3 against the Minot Minotauros.
“The pushback was good,” head coach Steve Jennings said. “Mason Kelly was good, trying to stick up for the boys. It makes it tough when you’re in a hole and in comeback mode for two periods.”
The comeback mode started near the end of the first period, but it was the Wings who got on the board first. Just over three minutes into the game, Jacob Bosse grabbed the puck and fed it to Cade Neilson, who put the puck top shelf to give his team the 1-0 lead. It was Neilson’s tenth goal on the year, while Bosse notched his twelfth assist and Ronan Walsh grabbed his second.
However, it was Minot who got the next three goals; the first came from Ben Johnson on the power play at the 15:54 mark. Shortly after, Aberdeen was on a 5-on-3 disadvantage when Braydon Beahm scored for the Minotauros, giving them the one-point advantage.
The Wings were in penalty trouble throughout the opening period, allowing Minot four power plays while while never having the man-advantage themselves, but they still managed to outshoot the Minotauros 16-7. And Coach Jennings was happy to see the high energy from his young team.
“I thought it was good,” he said. “The penalty calls in the first, that changed the momentum of the game and made it hard. Those penalties were not great, timing wise, and it set us up for a challenge. We got through it and had two periods of hockey left in front of us.”
Minot capitalized again when Zach Simon scored just 40 seconds into the second period. Aberdeen responded, however, at the 6:04 mark. That’s when Neilson stole the puck near the Wings’ blue line and passed it ahead to Walsh, who dropped it to Bosse for a shot inside the circle that found its way to the back of the net. Bosse grabbed his fifth goal on the year, and Walsh added his second apple of the game, third overall, while Neilson picked up his league-leading 22nd assist.
Minot grabbed the 4-2 lead when Christian Kadolph scored at the 15:28 mark in the second. But exactly two minutes later and the Wings on the power play, Schmuck took a shot from the middle of the circle and Jackson Yee was there to grab the rebound, slapping the puck while falling to the ice to notch his eighth goal of the season. Schmuck picked up his fourth assist and Bosse got his second of the game, 13th overall.
Trailing by one heading into the third, Aberdeen put on the pressure, taking 15 shots in the final stanza while limiting the Minotauros to just three. The teams traded plenty of penalties, playing 4-on-4 and even 3-on-4 hockey, but Minot killed their penalties and kept Aberdeen scoreless.
Overall, the Wings outshot the Minotauros 38-22, but Minot goaltender Carter Clafton denied 35 of the 38, while Wings netminder Dominik Wasik stopped 18-22. The Wings went 1-3 on the power play, while the Minotauros went 2-6.
Neilson continued both his assist streak and overall point streak, racking up 15 assists in the last nine games, and adding 19 points overall in that same period. Bosse had three points on the evening, while Walsh added two more to his point streak, adding eleven points in his last seven games.
The Wings will look to split the weekend Saturday night inside the Odde; doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the puck drops at 7:15 p.m. Fans can participate in our Small Business Saturday deal — just show a receipt from any Aberdeen small business (receipt must be dated Nov. 26 or 27) and receive $5 admission at the door. $10 general admission tickets can also be purchased ahead of the game at any C-Express location in Aberdeen, with additional purchase. Advanced tickets are available ahead of all home games online at tickets.AberdeenWings.com.
Join us ahead of warmups at 6:35 p.m. to check out our new warmup jerseys, courtesy of MyPlace Hotels. Fans are invited to stick around after the game to Skate with the Wings and check out the new warmups up close.
“It’s critical that we fight tomorrow,” Jennings said. “We showed that we can play with them and above them. We need to bring the energy tomorrow night and deliver.”