Friday night’s game between the Aberdeen Wings and the Bismarck Bobcats could be made into a motion picture, as the Wings won 4-3 in a shootout. The two teams battle each year to earn the Titan Cup, formerly the Dakota Cup which is presented by Titan Machinery. The cup goes to the team with the most points compiled from games between each other.
The game was already set to be a good one. The Bobcats, 4-3-1 against Aberdeen. The Wings, 4-3-1 against Bismarck. A large Bobcat crowd inside the VFW Sports Center. A loud group of faithful Wings fans. This was bound to be a hard fought game.
From the drop of the puck in the first period, Aberdeen would struggle to consistently put shots on goal. Bismarck, at the 4:05 mark would get a goal from Jacob McDowell. Bismarck would fire 17 shots on goal in the first period. Late in the first, they would find the back of the net again this time from the stick of Cullen Wilcox. Down 2-0 after one, the Wings would go to the locker room to regroup.
In the second period, Bismarck would continue their barrage of shots on goal. But late in the 2nd period, Wings forward #11 TJ Roo (F-Coon Rapids, MN) would get Aberdeen on the board scoring his 10th goal of the game, 5th against Bismarck this season. The assist would go to #16 Kyle Haak (F-Okemos, MI). Going into the locker room, the Wings would edge closer now down 2-1.
The third period would be more even in the shots on goal column, as the Wings outshot the Bobcats 9-7. Bismarck would score again though on a Huba Sekesi power play goal. But with 4:48 left in the game, the Bobcats would clearly pick up a hooking call send the Aberdeen Wings on the power play, the #1 power play in the NAHL. #27 Erik Baskin (F-Minnetonka, MN) would score on assists from #24 Jonathan Grebosky (F-Pittsburgh, PA) and #10 Tanner Okeson (D-Roseau, MN). Now 3-2, with only a minute left, Wings coach Travis Winter (2nd Year) would pull the goaltender for an extra-attacker. With 47.7 seconds left in the third period, #16 Kyle Haak would be waiting on the back door for the game-tying goal as #20 Dillon Eichstadt (D-Bemidji, MN) would wrap the puck around the net. The Wings would hold off a final attack by Bismarck to send the game into overtime 3-3.
The overtime period would be all Bismarck, placing 6 shots on goal. But the Aberdeen goaltender #1 Chad Catt (G-Williamstown, MI) and Wings defense would not allow a goal in the overtime period sending the game into a shootout.
In the shootout round, each team would send 5 skaters to the ice. So far this season, Wings goaltender Catt is 1-1 in shootouts. His only loss was against Bismarck back on October 5th. But this night would be much different. The Wings would send #14 Erik Gollenbeck (F-Mannheim, Germany) out first, who had a shootout goal against the Minnesota Magicians earlier this season. He would not score. Then Bismarck’s Huovinen would score on Catt. 1-0, Bismarck. Wings forward #27 Erik Baskin would be next, already with a goal in the game, he would plant one on Bobcats goaltender Aaron Nelson. Bobcats would counter with Huba Sekesi who would not score, 1-1 in the shootout. After misses from Aberdeen’s Roo and Bismarck’s Repensky, the Wings would send rookie defenseman #10 Tanner Okeson out. He would go straight at Nelson and beat him stick side. Bismarck would not answer. After a Horton miss, the final shootout hopes for the Bobcats would be left up to Stanislav Dzakhov who would put an attempt on Catt. The save would leave the puck just inches from the goal line. Wings would win 4-3 in a shootout, improving their Titan Cup record against Bismarck to 5-3-1, and improving their overall record to 22-12-2 moving back into 2nd place only one point behind first-place Austin in the NAHL Central Division. The Wings are off Saturday and headed to Austin next weekend for a road series.
BUTLER-CAT HIT OF THE GAME
Aberdeen – #17 Brycon Johnson (F-St. Louis, MO)
SOUTH DAKOTA WHEATGROWERS STARS OF THE GAME
3rd Star – Aberdeen – #1 Chad Catt (G-Williamstown, MI)
2nd Star – Aberdeen – #27 Erik Baskin (F-Minnetonka, MN)
1st Star – Aberdeen – #16 Kyle Haak (F-Okemos, MI)