Wings steal win to complete weekend sweep

Trailing by a goal with less than five minutes on the clock, the Aberdeen Wings found the back of the net twice in that span to steal the win from the visiting St. Cloud Norsemen to complete the weekend home sweep in front of another full house at the Odde Ice Center.

Each team killed off a penalty in the opening period but the Wings outshot the Norsemen 14-9. During the middle stanza, St. Cloud killed off two more penalties while Aberdeen killed one, taking eight shots and holding the Norsemen to just three.

Despite being outshot 22-12 in the game’s first 40 minutes, St. Cloud was the one who got on the board first just 1:05 into the third when Broten Sabo finally got one past Wings netminder Cole Moore. The Norsemen killed two more penalties later in the period, but a third penalty led to the equalizer for the Wings. After a head contact call, Aberdeen maintained puck possession on the delayed penalty and fed out to Jackson Anderson, who fired from the blue line through traffic and into the back of the net at the 15:19 mark in the third. It was Anderson’s third goal on the season, while Alexander Gullichsen picked up his tenth assist and Ronan Walsh grabbed his eighth.

Tied up at one apiece, each team was looking for the game-winner to prevent another overtime bout — and it was the Wings who found it with less than 30 seconds remaining in the game. That’s when Owen DuBois got the puck and skated into the Norsemen zone before feeding to Logan Gravink in the corner; Gravink passed the puck back to DuBois, who fired from the middle of the circle to make the back of the net billow at the 19:37 mark. It was the Wings captain’s fifth goal on the season, while Gravink picked up his fourth assist and Kyle Contessa got his 12th.

After a Norsemen timeout, St. Cloud goaltender Tomas Bolo headed for the bench to give his team the extra attacker, but Aberdeen held strong defensively, even grabbing an empty net goal just after time expired on the clock.

The Norsemen outshot the Wings in the final period 13-11, but the Wings had the overall advantage 33-25. Neither team scored a power play goal, with Aberdeen going 0-5 and St. Cloud going 0-2.

“It was a close-checking game and both teams played well in net,” Wings head coach Scott Langer said. “Our group didn’t get frustrated and continued to push the pace and ultimately found a way to win.”

Moore was once again solid between the pipes for Aberdeen, turning away 24 of the 25 shots he faced for his 13th win on the year. Overall, he improves to a 2.65 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage over 22 games played.

After grabbing four points on the weekend, the Wings (17-9-1-2) solidified their spot in second place in the Central Division standings while inching closer to the first place Austin Bruins, who they’ll face once again next weekend on the road. For Langer and company, the team will collectively need to find a way to put more pucks in the net.

“We are a score-by-committee type team,” he said. “To score more goals, we need to continue to work in units of five and execute our principals.”

The Wings head to Riverside Arena once again to face the Bruins on Jan. 6-7 before heading north to face the Minot Minotauros on Jan. 13-14. They’ll return home to the Odde on Thursday, Jan. 19 to face the Bismarck Bobcats before hitting the road to North Dakota to face the Bobcats inside the VFW Sports Center on Jan. 20-21, and they’ll finish the month on home ice against the Bobcats once again.

“This is a great opportunity to spend some time together with no distractions,” Langer said of the upcoming road stretch. “We need to let that fuel us and get us through a tough road schedule in January.”

Fans can watch the away games using their HockeyTV login, or live at Buffalo Wings & Rings, the official home for all Wings away games. The game’s audio will be broadcast via Hub City Radio’s 94.1 The Rock, or via The Rock app.

Tickets for the three home games in January are available now online at tickets.AberdeenWings.com. Stay tuned to the team’s website and social media pages for more details on the upcoming games.