A Jake Goldowski hat trick led the Aberdeen Wings to their 44th win and third straight victory Friday night, downing the Bismarck Bobcats 7-1 inside the VFW Sports Center.
It was also the 100th game as a Wing for captain Clay Cosentino, who helped his team improve to 44-4-0-1 on the season with a league-leading 89 points overall.
Aberdeen found themselves on the penalty kill early in the first period — and at the exact moment the Wings moved to full strength, Will Arquiett skated around two defenders to score his eleventh goal of the season. Goldowski grabbed his eighth assist, his second on the weekend, and the Wings had the 1-0 lead just over four minutes into the game.
Just shy of the twelve-minute mark, Wings defensemen Marshall Walker collected a pass out in front of the net and took a quick shot to score his first goal as a Wing. Jordan Randall picked up his 13th assist, while Payton Matsui nabbed his 31st. After the first 20 minutes, the Wings headed into the break with the 2-0 cushion.
Wings goalie Dominik Wasik, playing in his first game since March 27, make several nice saves to start the second period before Lars Rodne put the Bobcats on the board at the 1:21 mark. But four minutes later, Goldowski got his hat trick started, taking the rebound off a spinning shot from Cullen Ferguson. It was Goldowski’s second in two games, while Ferguson got his eleventh assist and Arquiett got credit for his 14th.
Leading 3-1 at the 8:40 mark, Matsui and Kyle Gaffney found themselves flying down the ice; Matsui took the shot and Gaffney collected the rebound for his second goal on the season. Jordan Randall also got credit on the goal, his 14th on the year. Fifty-eight seconds later and on the power play, Goldowski took a quick backdoor pass from Arquiett to snag his second goal of the night. Arquiett picked up his second assist of the game and 15th overall, while Thomas Manty grabbed his 24th. After their second three-goal period in two days, the Wings headed into the final intermission with the 5-1 lead.
It took nearly 15 minutes before another goal was scored, and it was a big one as Goldowski weaved his way through the Bismarck defense to claim the hat trick, his third goal of the game and twelfth on the season. Jakob Stender got his 13th assist, while Christian Abrams picked up his eighth. Once again, just 58 seconds later, and in a near exact fashion from Thursday’s game in Minot, Randall took an incredible pass from Gaffney from the corner, making quick work to give the Wings the 7-1 lead. That was Randall’s 14th goal on the season; Gaffney notched his 14th assist, while Matsui picked up his third assist on the night and 33rd overall.
Scott Langer, Wings head coach and general manager, was very happy with his team’s showing, especially after seeing 60 minutes of hockey the previous evening.
“We knew Bismarck was fresh and we were coming off playing the night before,” he said. “We had to have everyone’s work ethic, and we got it.”
The effort was led by Goldowski’s three goals and one assist. After adding a goal and an assist the night before, he’s claimed six points in two games, with one more weekend game still to come Saturday night at the Odde Ice Center in Aberdeen.
“Jake’s been a really good acquisition to this team,” Langer said of his forward, who joined the Wings after the holiday break. “He brings maturity, leadership and plays a man’s game. We needed an effort like that tonight and he provided it.”
The Wings outshot the Bobcats in all three periods — 9-5, 13-6 and 13-9 — taking 35 shots overall and holding Bismarck to just 20. Bismarck goaltender Tommy Aitken stopped eleven of 15 shots before being replaced by Ian Shane, who turned away 17 of 20. Wasik denied 19 of the 20 shots sent his way, improving to a 1.66 goals-against average, a .934 save percentage and an overall record of 6-2.
“Wasik did a great job getting the start on the road,” Langer said. “He made some big saves to keep the momentum in our favor.”
The Wings and the Bobcats will face each other again inside the Odde Saturday night; doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the puck drops at 7:15 p.m. Tickets can be purchased ahead of the game at tickets.AberdeenWings.com; $10 general admission tickets can also be purchased at any of the four C-Express locations in Aberdeen, with additional purchase. Presentation College students receive free general admission to Saturday’s game with their valid Student ID, while area educators can receive $5 general admission with their valid school ID. The Wings also welcome corporate sponsor Hub City Radio.
As for the team, they’re happy to be home for the the final leg of their long weekend.
“If you’re going to have to play three in a row in three different cities, it’s best to finish at the Odde,” Langer said.