Thanks to a three-goal first period, the Aberdeen Wings flew to a 4-1 win Friday night inside the Odde Ice Center, taking their second straight win over the North Iowa Bulls.
The Wings came out firing, getting good zone pressure and nice scoring chances early on in the contest. And Landry Schmuck broke open the scoring for Aberdeen just 3:47 into the game when he grabbed the puck on the side of North Iowa’s crease and skated in, tucking it into the net for his second goal on the season; Owen DuBois grabbed his eighth assist while Kyle Contessa picked up his seventh.
Less than two minutes later, the Wings doubled their lead when Landon Parker won back a face-off in the Bulls’ zone and Nikolai Tishkevich grabbed the puck, firing from between the circles and into the upper left-hand corner at the 5:15 mark. He notched his eighth goal on the year, while Parker picked up his seventh apple.
The Wings maintained good puck possession in the opening period and eventually found a third goal at the 15:37 mark. That’s when Parker chased down a loose puck following a turnover in the neutral zone and skated in alone, firing from between the circles for the three-goal lead. It was Parker’s fourth goal on the season, while Tishkevich grabbed his sixth assist on the season and Patrick O’Connell racked up his tenth.
Each team killed off a penalty in the opening period, but Aberdeen outshot North Iowa 14-7 and skated into the first break with the 3-0 lead.
The second period was penalty-free and scoreless for both teams, and the Wings once again outshot the Bulls, this time 12-6.
Just over halfway through the third, the Wings went on the power play for the second time in the game — and the special teams unit never let the puck leave the Bulls’ zone during the power play. With just over 30 seconds remaining with the man-advantage, Nils Forselius found the puck near the boards, skated into the crease and poked it past North Iowa netminder Mitch Day at the 10:55 mark for the four-goal lead. The power play goal was Forselius’ fifth goal on the year, while Parker got his second assist of the game, eighth overall, and newcomer Owen Benoit got his first.
The Bulls took more shots in the third than in the first two periods combined, taking 14 while the Wings fired off 10 — and they got one on the board when Jack Mesic scored at the 17:02 mark. But Aberdeen held strong in the game’s final minutes, skating to the 4-1 win when the final horn sounded.
“I really like the progress and steps this group has been taking so far,” Wings head coach Scott Langer said. “Their work rate is really good, and they’re starting to make plays.”
Overall, the Wings outshot North Iowa 36-27 while going 1-2 on the power play and holding the Bulls to 0-4. Wings goaltender Cole Moore once again stood tall for his squad, turning away 26 of the shots he faced.
“When you win the special teams war, it gives you a good opportunity to win the game,” Langer said. “Teams in this league are very structured and well-coached, and it’s not easy. Our ability to commit to getting the puck back defensively was the difference-maker.”
The teams will hit the ice again Saturday night inside the Odde, their fourth matchup in a row. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the puck hits the ice at 7:15 p.m. Fans can purchase tickets ahead of the game online at tickets.AberdeenWings.com or at the door on game night. $10 general admission tickets can also be purchased at any C-Express location in Aberdeen, with additional purchase. We welcome Sanford Health as the game’s corporate sponsor inside the AutoMaxx Party Deck.
The team will once again wear their specialty Super Hero jerseys Saturday night with a live auction immediately following the game. Fans are invited to stick around for the auction to take home a game-worn jersey, and the money raised will directly benefit the Children’s Miracle Network. The Wings would also like to thank Sanford Health Foundation and Hub City Radio for their partnership with the specialty jerseys.
“I witnessed the effect the Children’s Miracle Network can have after having newborns in the NICU,” Langer said. “This jersey auction is for a great cause.”