After a rough stretch of games, the Aberdeen Wings needed a victory to get back into the win column and break the tie to once again take over second place in the Central Division Standings.
And they got the proverbial monkey off their back in exciting shutout fashion, taking a 3-0 win over the Minot Minotauros Friday night on home ice at the Odde Ice Center.
The game remained scoreless for nearly the entire first period after a Minot goal was overturned. And the Wings responded with their first goal as the final minute approached — that’s when Devon Carlstrom moved the puck down and behind the Minotauro’s goal and sent it back high into the crease, where Landon Parker was there to knock it past Minot goaltender Noah Rupprecht at the 18:54 mark. Parker grabbed his tenth goal on the season, while Carlstrom notched his 13th assist and Luke Backel got his seventh.
The Wings had good control over the opening period, taking 16 shots while holding Minot to just seven and going 0-1 on the power play, taking the one-goal lead into the first break.
Nearly another full 20 minutes passed before the Wings got the insurance goal they were looking for. With the seconds ticking down, Dylan Wegner skated the puck through the neutral zone and into the Minot end before cutting to the center and firing a rocket from between the circles, which drove right into the back of the net at the 19:56 mark in the second. It was his seventh goal on the season, while Backel and Carlstrom each added their second assists of the game, eighth and 14th on the season, respectively.
With four seconds still on the clock, Minot instantly moved down the ice and Wings netminder Cole Moore made perhaps the biggest save of the game as the final horn sounded, keeping the Minotauros off the board. Minot killed their second penalty of the game and the Wings killed two penalties of their own in the middle stanza, but still managed to outshoot the Minotauros once again 9-6.
In the final period, the Wings had two more chances with the man-advantage and killed off their third penalty, holding the two-goal lead for nearly the entire period. Minot gave themselves the extra attacker with less than two minutes on the clock but the Wings’ defense continued to shine, keeping Minot off the scoreboard. And — once again in the final moments of the period — the Wings managed to set up a 2-on-1 attack, and Parker fired the puck off into the empty net with .4 seconds remaining on the clock. He got his second goal of the game, eleventh overall on the season, while Backel tallied his third assist of the game and ninth overall, and Nikolai Tishkevich racked up his 15th.
Overall, Aberdeen outshot Minot 32-23, going 0-4 on the power play while holding the Minotauros to 0-3. Moore denied all 23 shots he faced for his second shutout of the season.
Aberdeen (20-15-2-2) takes over sole ownership of second place in the Central Division while Minot (20-17-1-1) is now tied for third place with the St. Cloud Norsemen, who shutout the Bismarck Bobcats Friday. With more games slated for Saturday night, the Wings need a sweep to stay in that position.
The two teams will face off again inside the Odde Saturday night, with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. and the puck dropping at 7:15 p.m. Fans can purchase tickets ahead of the game 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.
The team will once again wear specialty jerseys designed by SPURS Therapeutic Riding Center in Aberdeen, with the live, game-worn jersey auction immediately following the game. All proceeds from the auction will directly benefit SPURS.