The Aberdeen Wings skated to their tenth straight victory Friday night, defeating the St. Cloud Norsemen 5-1 at the St. Cloud Municipal Athletic Complex.
Things started on an even keel for both teams. Spencer Schneider got the scoring started less than five minutes into the game, assisted by Clayton Cosentino, who nabbed his NAHL-leading 33rd assist on the season, and Trevor Russell. However, the Norsemen struck back a minute later with a goal from Ryan O’Neill. With Aberdeen outshooting St. Cloud just eight shots to seven, the teams headed into the first intermission tied 1-1.
The final 40 minutes, however, belonged to the Wings.
Thomas Manty gave the Wings the go-ahead on a power play goal assisted by Nico deVita and Will Arquiett. Later in the second, Jake Goldowski notched his fifth of the season off an assist from Kyle Gaffney and Arquiett, his eighth on the year. Shots were also tilted in Aberdeen’s favor, with the Wings outshooting the Norsemen 13-4.
Leading 3-1 heading into the game’s final 20 minutes, Aberdeen kept firing at St. Cloud, but it wasn’t until late in the period when the Wings really sealed the Norsemen’s fate. Schneider got a good feed from Russell, who picked up his 22nd assist, to find the empty net and nabbing his 15th goal in the process. With less than ten seconds on the clock and on the power play again, Manty notched his 20th goal of the season off an assist from Cade Neilson, who picked up his 22nd apple, and deVita, who got his 21st.
Once again, Aberdeen outshot St. Cloud 10-3 in the final period. Norsemen goalie Josh Langford stopped 26 of the 30 shots sent his way, while Wings’ keeper Jake Sibell denied 13 of 14 shots. Ranked the league’s top goalie, Sibell improves to an incredible 1.07 goals-against average and a .956 save percentage.
“We had had a later start to our game, but we shook things up after the first 10 minutes,” Wings assistant coach Michael Hill said. “We got the first goal and they got one right back, but our guys were pretty headstrong and kept it simple and started making harder plays, and that’s what helped us in the long run. You can see our guys really wanted it tonight.”
Overall, the Wings outshot St. Cloud 31-14, something Hill was equally impressed with.
“We played a hard offensive game and didn’t give up a whole lot defensively,” he said. “Our defense is good at getting pucks and transitioning it. We’re playing a really good defensive game.”
Aberdeen also killed both penalties coming from St. Cloud, holding onto a 92.0 success rate.
“We have guys that understand that those four have to work harder out there, and they found success,” Hill said.
The Wings also went 2-4 on the power play, with Manty clinching both goals in the game. He’s notched seven points in the last three games, and Aberdeen improves to a league-leading 28.1 on the power play.
The teams meet again Saturday night in St. Cloud, with the puck hitting the ice at 7:10 p.m. Wings fans can watch the game via their HockeyTV subscription or live at Buffalo Wings & Rings in Aberdeen. Fans can also catch the game’s audio on Hub City Radio’s 94.1 The Rock.