In perhaps the closest game of the season, the Aberdeen Wings held on to a 3-2 win over Austin, sweeping the Bruins and staying perfect on the season.
After a physical game Friday, the Wings attacked first in the opening period with a goal from Kevin MacKay at the 8:19 mark. Jordan Randall picked up the assist and the Wings headed into the locker room leading 1-0.
Spencer Schneider picked up his fourth goal of the season on the power play at the 3:22 mark of the second period, with the assist from Payton Matsui. The Wings held Austin to just four shots on goal in the period and led 2-0 heading into the second intermission.
“This group of players take a lot of pride not giving our opposition chances,” Wings head coach Scott Langer said.
In what ended up being the game-winner, Wings forward Natan Vertes started the scoring just under five minutes into the third, picking up his eighth goal of the season off an assist from Clayton Cosentino, who notched his seventeenth assist of the season. Austin’s Jens Richards scored at the 11:03 mark to put the Bruins down by two.
Austin pulled goalie Hudson Hodges with just under two minutes left in regulation play, giving the Bruins the extra attacker. The tactic worked as Richards scored again for Austin, putting the Bruins just one goal shy. However, a strong Wings defense held out and the Wings maintained the lead as the final buzzer sounded.
Langer felt his team toughed out a well-rounded opponent.
“Austin is a very structured team,” he said. “To be successful, you have to be persistent about your approach and work ethic. Our guys found a way to grind this win out.”
The Wings outshot Austin 47-17, giving up very few chances for the Bruins to score points. Goalie Jake Sibell stopped 15 of those opportunities. The Wings went 1-6 on the power play.
After a slight schedule change, the Wings will head to Bismarck next weekend to take on the Bobcats. Fans can watch the game via their HockeyTV account or live at Buffalo Wings & Rings in Aberdeen. The game will also be broadcasted on 94.1 The Rock.
With an impressive 12-0 start to the season, Langer knows that teams are gunning to take that streak away from the Wings. But he’s confident his players are up for the challenge.
“Every game we win, the bullseye becomes bigger and bigger,” he said. “We need to embrace that and continue to improve every day.”