Wings turn tables for 5-2 Saturday win

When the going got tough, the Wings got going.

Fresh off a shutout loss Friday, the Aberdeen Wings turned on the pressure and flipped the script on the Minot Minotauros, taking a big 5-2 win Saturday night on the road to split the weekend.

The opening period was a track meet, with both teams moving up and down the ice to frustrate the other. After a close opportunity by the Wings, newcomer Wyatt Hickok found the puck at the point and sent it though traffic, where it bounced off the end wall and was put in by Kyle Contessa at the 10:49 for the Wings’ first lead of the game. Contessa notched his eighth goal on the season, while Hickok nabbed his first assist wearing the Wings’ sweater.

Not to be outdone, Minot responded when Nick Sewecke got past Wings goaltender Cole Moore to tie the game at one apiece at the 13:50 mark in the first. But Aberdeen took the lead back less than four minutes later — that’s when Dylan Wegner found himself open for a pass between the circles and buried it at the 17:08 mark in the first. He picked up his fifth goal on the season, while Bennett Koupal got his first assist and Nils Forselius collected his sixth.

The Wings’ went on the penalty kill in the period’s closing minutes and Chase LaPinta capitalized with the man-advantage to tie the game once again at the 19:04 mark. After Minot outshot Aberdeen 14-12, the two teams skated into the first break tied at two apiece.

The Minotauros nearly doubled the Wings’ shots on goal in the middle stanza, but it was the Wings who got two more on the board. The first came at the 14:30 mark when Patrick O’Connell received a pass in Minot’s zone and skated through the circle and into the crease before firing the puck around Minot netminder Erik Chaffe. The unassisted goal was O’Connell’s fifth on the season, and from this point on the Wings never gave up their lead.

They doubled their cushion at the 16:23 mark when the puck was cycled around from behind Minot’s goal to Zachary Reim, who fired from the point through traffic for the two-goal lead at the 16:23 mark in the second. Reim got his third goal on the year, while Logan Gravink got his sixth assist and Kyle Contessa racked up his twelfth.

The Minotauros tried to stage a comeback in the third but the Wings’ defense stood tall, limiting Minot to six shots on goal. The Minotauros pulled Chaffe from between the pipes to give themselves the extra attacker in the game’s final minutes, but Alexander Gullichsen found the puck shortly after a face-off and scored an empty net goal at the 19:14 mark for the three-goal lead, getting his eleventh goal on the season while Owen DuBois picked up his 13th assist.

Overall, Minot outshot the Wings 35-26 but the Wings took the 5-2 win to split the weekend against the Minotauros; Moore denied 33 of the 25 shots he faced. Minot went 1-3 on the power play while holding Aberdeen to 0-2.

The Wings return home this week for their lone Thursday matchup of the year on Jan. 19 when they host the Bismarck Bobcats. It’s Family Fun Night presented by Dakotaland Federal Credit Union, where fans can get a general admission ticket, pop and a hotdog or popcorn for $11 — email for tickets. Fans can also purchase tickets online at or at the door on game night. $10 general admission tickets are also available at any C-Express location in Aberdeen, with additional purchase.

After Thursday’s matchup, the Wings travel to Bismarck on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 20-21 for a road weekend against the Bobcats. Catch the action using your HockeyTV login, or at Buffalo Wings & Rings in Aberdeen, the official home for all Wings away games. The game’s audio is broadcast via Hub City Radio’s 94.1 The Rock or via The Rock app.