The Aberdeen Wings made it rain teddy bears en route to a 3-0 shutout over the Minnesota Wilderness, sweeping the weekend and improving to 39-2-0-1 on the season.
Just like Friday’s matchup, it was a scoreless first period during the annual Yelduz Shrine Teddy Bear Toss game. And just like Friday, it was Spencer Schneider who put the Wings on the board early in the second to make the teddy bears fly from fans. Just under three minutes into the period, Schneider scored his 21st on the season on the power play off a pass from Trevor Russell, who picked up his 27th assist, and Payton Matsui, who picked up his 29th on the season.
Just over two minutes later, Thomas Manty skated in for his league-leading 24th goal, assisted by Natan Vertes, who notched his 15th apple, and Jakob Stender, who picked up his tenth. Over two periods, the Wilderness outshot the Wings 23 to 18, but Aberdeen skated into the final intermission leading 2-0.
Minnesota took another 15 shots on goal in the third period, but Wings goalie Jake Sibell turned away each one. With less than four minutes on the clock and on the power play once again, Cullen Ferguson gave the Wings one more goal. Nico deVita picked up his 27th assist and Cade Neilson notched his 29th, and the Wings claimed the 3-0 victory.
The Wilderness outshot the Wings in Saturday’s game, something very few teams have managed to do this season. But head coach Scott Langer was once again impressed with his team’s defense and ability to shut the Wilderness down.
“For the most part, we kept their shots to the perimeter of the rink,” he said after the win. “The tough ones, Jake Sibell proved why he is the top goalie in the league.”
Sibell notched his tenth shutout of the season and now holds the franchise record for most shutouts in a season, as well as the most shutouts for a Wing, tallying eleven over his career in Aberdeen. He stopped all 38 shots sent his way. Wilderness goalie Jacob Zacharewicz stopped 26 of 29.
Aberdeen killed all three of Minnesota’s power play opportunities while going a perfect two-for-two on the night, something Langer was very pleased to see.
“Special teams were important the entire weekend,” he said. “We were able to win the special teams battle and that usually means you were successful on the scoreboard.”
Sibell improves to 33-0-0-1 on the season, boasting a 1.09 goals-against average and a .957 save percentage. Manty leads the league with 24 goals and Clay Cosentino leads the league with 36 assists. Aberdeen also leads the league in penalty kill and power play, while several other players’ names pepper the league’s top lists. But Langer is only focused on the next opponent.
“We are one game at a time, trying to improve each day so we are ready to compete come playoff time,” he said.
That next matchup comes quickly as the Wings travel to Minot to take on the Minotauros on Tuesday, April 6. Fans can watch the game using their HockeyTV login or live at Buffalo Wings & Rings in Aberdeen. The game’s audio will be broadcast via Hub City Radio’s 94.1 The Rock.