The Aberdeen Wings outlasted the Austin Bruins Saturday night inside Riverside Arena in Austin, rebounding from Friday’s loss to take a 4-2 win in their final game before the league’s holiday break.
The win marks the 15th on the season for Aberdeen, who took three of the four games they played against the top-seeded Bruins over the past two weekends, standing solid in second place in the Central Division standings.
Similar to Friday’s matchup, Austin got on the board first on a power play goal from James Goffredo at the 6:23 mark in the opening period. But the Wings answered back less than ten minutes later when Landon Parker got the puck deep in the Wings’ zone and passed up to Nikolai Tishkevich, then trailed the play to get a drop-pass and fire from the circle to tie the game at one apiece at the 15:05 mark. It was Parker’s seventh goal on the season, while Tishkevich notched his eleventh assist.
Despite some penalty trouble and giving up a power play goal, the Wings were outshot 9-6 but still skated into the first break facing a tie game.
The second period was a track meet, with both teams moving up and down the ice — but the Wings seriously limited Austin’s shots before captain Owen DuBois got the lead for his team late in the period. After a big save from Wings goaltender Cole Moore, Kyle Contessa skated the puck into Austin’s zone and behind their net before centering to DuBois, who fired a quick shot from the crease for the 2-1 lead at the 18:27 mark. DuBois grabbed his fourth goal on the year, while Contessa picked up his eleventh assist.
Each team killed off a penalty in the middle period but the Wings took 12 shots while holding the Bruins to just three, taking the one-goal lead into the game’s final 20 minutes.
Aberdeen killed off another penalty in the third before going on their third power play of the game with just over seven minutes on the clock. And it took just five seconds with the man-advantage before Alexander Gullichsen got the pass and fired a big shot from the point, which snuck through traffic and into the back of the net. It was Gullichsen’s ninth goal on the season, while Jackson Anderson notched his ninth assist and Nils Forselius got his fourth.
Moore came up big again with the minutes ticking down, denying a point-blank shot to keep the lead, but the Bruins wouldn’t go away and got back within one when Austin Salani scored at the 16:05 mark in the third. Holding onto a one-goal lead, the Wings picked up their defense when Austin gave themselves the extra attacker, pulling netminder Ethan Robertson from between the pipes with 1:45 on the clock. He came back into the game 15 seconds later, but hit the bench once again as soon as the puck was cleared into Aberdeen’s zone with a minute remaining in the game.
The Bruins didn’t make it easy for the Wings, creating a flurry of activity in Aberdeen’s zone before the Wings were able to get the puck back into Austin’s zone. After a puck-out-of-play call, the face-off was set up in the Bruins’ end, but Robertson stayed on the bench, leaving an empty net for Aberdeen. And with just one second remaining on the clock, Gullichsen found the loose puck and tucked in into the net for the 4-2 lead at the 19:59 mark. It was his second goal of the game, tenth overall, while DuBois racked up his eleventh assist.
Aberdeen managed to edge out Austin in shots on goal 7-6 in the game’s final period, overall outshooting the Bruins 25 to 18. The Wings went 1-3 on the power play while Austin went 1-5.
“The mental part of the game is a big portion of it,” Wings head coach Scott Langer said about his team’s willingness to play hard and bounce back. “They are growing a lot in that area. When you play against good players and good teams, your mental game has got to be good.”
And he was happy that his players found a way to out-hustle the Bruins, earning six points in the last four games to inch closer to Austin while creating some separation behind them in the tight Central Division standings.
“Our group responded as a good team will,” he said. “To get to the top in this division, you have to respond after a hard loss. They were willing to learn today and brought it into the game.”
DuBois led the team over the weekend with a goal and two assists; Gullichsen (2G), Forselius (1G 1A), Parker (1G 1A) and Anderson (2A) each grabbed two points, while three more players each added a point to their totals.
The players embark on their holiday break with their families, getting the upcoming weekend off before returning to the Odde Ice Center for New Year’s weekend against the St. Cloud Norsemen. Fans can purchase tickets ahead of the games online at tickets.AberdeenWings.com or at the door on game nights. $10 general admission tickets can also be purchased at any C-Express location in Aberdeen, with additional purchase.
“We just want to utilize this time to be with family outside of the team family,” Langer said of the upcoming break. “When we return, it’s right back to work.”
Stay tuned to AberdeenWings.com for more details on the New Year’s weekend games. Also keep an eye on our social media pages for information on special Wings Things Pro Shop hours ahead of Christmas.