The Aberdeen Wings had a slow start to Friday’s game and never quite recovered, falling 4-1 against the top-ranked Austin Bruins inside Riverside Arena in Austin.
It was a scoreless first with Aberdeen getting outshot 13-6 and failing to score on two power play opportunities, while Geno Pichora made some highlight-worthy saves to keep the Bruins off the board. But Austin scored on their second power play opportunity of the game early in the second when Ocean Wallace finally got one past Pichora at the one-minute mark.
Austin kept their momentum and made Pichora put in the work, eventually doubling their lead later in the period when Austin Salani scored at the 12:31 mark. But a few minutes later, the Wings got the man-advantage once again and closed the gap after the puck cycled around before a centering pass to Dylan Wegner, who fired the puck into the back of the net at the 17:07 mark in the second. The power play goal was his fourth on the year, while Ronan Walsh grabbed his ninth assist and Nils Forselius notched his fifth.
Aberdeen had good pressure to start the third and Pichora made another breakaway save to keep his team within striking distance, but they couldn’t capitalize on a four-minute double minor penalty, and Austin got one back shortly after when Walter Zacher scored at the 12:27 mark. Trailing by two, the Wings pulled Pichora from between the pipes with over three minutes remaining on the clock. Despite some good chances, the Bruins eventually found the empty net at the 19:34 mark for the 4-1 lead to seal the deal.
Overall, the Bruins outshot the Wings 28-25, while Austin went 1-3 on the power play and the Wings were held to 1-8. Pichora denied 25 of the shots he faced.
“It was an off night for our group,” Wings head coach Scott Langer said. “We didn’t play with much energy and we lacked the ability to make plays. Tomorrow is a new day, and we need to be better to beat the top team in our division.”
The rematch comes Saturday night inside Riverside Arena with another 7:05 p.m. scheduled puck drop. Fans can watch the game 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 is broadcast via Hub City Radio’s 94.1 or on The Rock app.