The Aberdeen Wings had to dig themselves out of an early hole Friday night against the Austin Bruins, ultimately falling 4-1 despite outshooting their opponent.
The team had some good offensive chances but struggled to find the back of the net, falling to 6-6-1-2 on the season.
Damon Furuseth got the Bruins on the board first at the 14:00 mark in the first, and Austin doubled their lead just over two minutes later when Parker Anderson scored at the 16:06 mark. Staring at an early two-goal deficit, the Wings applied the pressure and brought the game back within one just 47 seconds later. That’s when Alexander Gullichsen forced a turnover at the center line and skated in, firing over the left shoulder of Austin netminder Trent Wiemken at the 16:53 mark in the first. The unassisted goal was Gullichsen’s sixth on the year.
Austin edged out Aberdeen in shots on goal in the opening period 13-10 while also shutting down two power play opportunities for the Wings.
“The biggest part of the game was the first period,” Wings head coach Scott Langer said. “We weren’t hard to play against. Throughout the game, we supplied some push back but spotting them a 2-0 lead put us on our heels early.”
The Bruins went on the power play for the first time in the game early in the second period and capitalized just nine seconds later with the man-advantage when Josh Giuliani scored at the 3:13 mark. The Wings killed off a penalty later in the period before Austin gave the Wings their chance on the power play again. After applying some good pressure and firing off plenty of shots at Wiemken, a turnover led to a shorthanded goal for Austin’s Gavin Morrissey at the 16:39 mark, giving the Bruins the 4-1 lead after two periods.
The Wings took 17 shots while holding Austin to 12 but still faced the final period with a three-goal deficit. For Langer, the special teams unit was the downfall for the home team.
“Those areas need to be cleaned up, and the focus level and understanding the importance needs to be better,” he said. “It’s our staff’s job to put the plan together and it’s the players’ job to execute. Special teams are a big part of today’s game and if you lose that battle, it’s hard to win.”
Scoring was limited in the third, with Aberdeen outshooting Austin 7-4 and Aberdeen failing to capitalize on another chance. Overall, the Wings outshot the Bruins 34-29, but went 0-6 on the power play while allowing Austin to score on one of two chances and giving up the shorthanded goal.
Austin, currently sitting at the top of the Central Division, returns to the Odde Ice Center on Saturday night to face the Wings in the second game of the weekend series. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the puck drops at 7:15 p.m. It’s the annual Halloween game, and costumes are encouraged. We also welcome MyPlace Hotels as the game’s corporate sponsor inside the AutoMaxx Party Deck.
Halloween treat bags will be available to the first 150 kids through the door, and fans are invited to stick around after the game for the Danger Von Dempsey’s Candy Toss.
Fans can purchase tickets ahead of the matchup online at tickets.AberdeenWings.com, or at the door on game night. Fans can also get $10 general admission tickets at any C-Express location in Aberdeen, with additional purchase.
“We played with pace tonight and there was work to our game,” Langer said, touching on the good things he saw in Friday’s loss. “Tomorrow, we need to build off the positives and fix the negatives.”