The Aberdeen Wings have done it again.
After securing the North American Hockey League record for most wins in a single season Friday night, the Wings added one more win to that total Saturday night after defeating the Minot Minotauros 4-1 inside the Odde Ice Center.
They also set an NAHL record for most points in a season in the process, tallying an impressive 103. That, coupled with their 51 wins, is a high mark for future teams to reach for.
Wings head coach and general manager Scott Langer also claimed these records on a personal level, getting his most points in a single season and most wins in a single season. He also claims the fewest losses in a single season (4), the highest goal differential (176) and the highest win percentage (.920).
The historic win started off early in the first period when Natan Vertes scored his fifth goal of the weekend and 28th overall at the 1:12 mark, putting the one-timer past Minot’s goaltender Keenan Rancier. Liam Fraser picked up his 19th assist of the season, while Wings captain Clayton Cosentino added his fifth assist of the weekend.
Just under a minute later, the Wings found themselves on the penalty kill, but the league’s top killing unit had no issue with the man-disadvantage. At the 2:35 mark, Kevin MacKay took a shot from the far side of the circle and Spencer Schneider redirected past Rancier for the short-handed goal. Schneider racked up his 26th goal of the season, while MacKay and Payton Matsui notched their 13th and 39th assists, respectively.
Matsui, the NAHL’s top points leader, grabbed a goal of his own at the 8:25 mark, skating behind the Minotauros’ net and sliding it in for his 27th goal of the season. Schneider added his 17th apple of the season, while Trevor Russell, who leads all defensemen in the assists column, notched his 34th. After outshooting Minot 21-4, the Wings skated into the first intermission leading 3-0.
Wings goalie Jake Sibell was eyeing the NAHL record for most shutouts in a season, but Tyler Kostelecky dashed those chances just under two minutes into the middle period, bringing the Minotauros within two. Minot was able to spend a bit more time in the Wings’ zone in the second period but Aberdeen refused to let any more by them.
Then, with less than two minutes to go, Cosentino stole the puck behind Minot’s goal and fed MacKay, who’s quick shot went in to give the Wings the 4-1 lead. MacKay notched his 6th goal of the season, while Cosentino picked up his second of the night, sixth on the weekend and league-leading 49th overall, setting a new Wings single-season assist record in the process. Nico deVita also got credit for an assist, racking up his 31st on the year. Aberdeen led shots on goal once again, taking 19 while holding the Minotauros to eight, and headed into the final break with the three-point cushion.
Aberdeen outshot Minot for the sixth straight period, taking 14 shots compared to five in the third period. Penalties picked up for the Minotauros but neither team managed to score, and the Wings claimed the 4-1 victory and 51st overall win out of just 56 games played.
Overall, Aberdeen outshot Minot 53 to 18, scoring 14 goals in the weekend sweep while only allowing two. The Wings went 0-5 on the power play and held Minot to 0-1.
Minot’s Rancier stopped 49 of 53 shots fired his way, while Sibell denied 17-18, claiming several NAHL records in the process:
- The single season goals-against average record of 1.19.
- The single season save percentage record of .952.
- The single season record for most wins with 43.
While Sibell didn’t get his record for shutouts, his name is still at the top of the NAHL’s list, tied for most overall with eleven. He finished the regular season with a personal record of 43-2-0-1.
But those weren’t the only records broken.
The Wings organization saw some of their own records being replaced with new names. Sibell’s single season goals-against average and save percentage place him at the top of the list, while his shutouts and wins also earn him the top spot in franchise history. In his time with the Aberdeen Wings, Sibell also earned the top spot for overall shutouts (12) and overall goals-against average (1.63). Interestingly, he also set the record for most penalty minutes for a goalie, tallying 16.
Cosentino also set a single season franchise record with his 49 assists, and Matsui tops the list for game-winning goals, snagging ten in a single season. deVita, who finished the regular season with a +/- score of 49 — the best in the NAHL — earned the all-time franchise record with a total of 67.
With the regular season officially behind them, the No. 1 Aberdeen Wings finally got to find out who their playoff opponent will be — and it’s Minot who will travel back to Aberdeen next weekend for the first two games in the best-of-five first round playoff series. The Minnesota Wilderness, who swept the Bismarck Bobcats, move into third place overall and will travel to North Dakota for two games against the No. 2 seed. The Wings finished the regular season on a 10-0 run and head into playoff season with high hopes for a trip back to the Robertson Cup.
Wings fans can purchase playoff tickets for next weekend’s games online at tickets.AberdeenWings.com. Fans can also purchase $10 general admission tickets ahead of the game at any of the four C-Express locations in Aberdeen, with additional purchase. The game’s audio will be broadcast via Hub City Radio’s 94.1 The Rock.