ABERDEEN, SD (AberdeenWings.com) –
North IA Bulls
Aberdeen Wings 4-1
Thanks to a three-goal first period, the Aberdeen Wings flew to a 4-1 win Friday night inside the Odde Ice Center, taking their second straight win over the North Iowa Bulls.
The Wings came out firing, getting good zone pressure and nice scoring chances early on in the contest. And Landry Schmuck broke open the scoring for Aberdeen just 3:47 into the game when he grabbed the puck on the side of North Iowa’s crease and skated in, tucking it into the net for his second goal on the season; Owen DuBois grabbed his eighth assist while Kyle Contessa picked up his seventh.
Less than two minutes later, the Wings doubled their lead when Landon Parker won back a face-off in the Bulls’ zone and Nikolai Tishkevich grabbed the puck, firing from between the circles and into the upper left-hand corner at the 5:15 mark. He notched his eighth goal on the year, while Parker picked up his seventh apple.
The Wings maintained good puck possession in the opening period and eventually found a third goal at the 15:37 mark. That’s when Parker chased down a loose puck following a turnover in the neutral zone and skated in alone, firing from between the circles for the three-goal lead. It was Parker’s fourth goal on the season, while Tishkevich grabbed his sixth assist on the season and Patrick O’Connell racked up his tenth.
Each team killed off a penalty in the opening period, but Aberdeen outshot North Iowa 14-7 and skated into the first break with the 3-0 lead.
The second period was penalty-free and scoreless for both teams, and the Wings once again outshot the Bulls, this time 12-6.
Just over halfway through the third, the Wings went on the power play for the second time in the game — and the special teams unit never let the puck leave the Bulls’ zone during the power play. With just over 30 seconds remaining with the man-advantage, Nils Forselius found the puck near the boards, skated into the crease and poked it past North Iowa netminder Mitch Day at the 10:55 mark for the four-goal lead. The power play goal was Forselius’ fifth goal on the year, while Parker got his second assist of the game, eighth overall, and newcomer Owen Benoit got his first.
The Bulls took more shots in the third than in the first two periods combined, taking 14 while the Wings fired off 10 — and they got one on the board when Jack Mesic scored at the 17:02 mark. But Aberdeen held strong in the game’s final minutes, skating to the 4-1 win when the final horn sounded.
“I really like the progress and steps this group has been taking so far,” Wings head coach Scott Langer said. “Their work rate is really good, and they’re starting to make plays.”
Overall, the Wings outshot North Iowa 36-27 while going 1-2 on the power play and holding the Bulls to 0-4. Wings goaltender Cole Moore once again stood tall for his squad, turning away 26 of the shots he faced.
“When you win the special teams war, it gives you a good opportunity to win the game,” Langer said. “Teams in this league are very structured and well-coached, and it’s not easy. Our ability to commit to getting the puck back defensively was the difference-maker.”
North IA Bulls
Aberdeen Wings 3-2 [OT]
The Aberdeen Wings were down by two goals with 18 minutes left to play in regulation hockey.
But they dug deep and applied serious pressure to tie the game and send it to overtime. And with just 35 seconds remaining, they stole the win from the North Iowa Bulls in front of a packed crowd at the Odde Ice Center Saturday night.
North Iowa got on the board first at the 6-minute mark in the first period when Nolan Abraham got one past Wings’ goaltender Cole Moore. Aberdeen outshot the Bulls 10-7 while also killing off a penalty and headed into the first break trailing by one.
The Wings also outshot North Iowa in the second period, this time 16-9, but despite some Grade A chances, couldn’t find the equalizer in the middle stanza. The Wings killed off two more penalties while the Bulls killed off one of their own, and the score remained 1-0 heading into the game’s final period.
Abraham gave his squad the two-goal lead at the 1:59 mark in the third, scoring his second goal of the game. But the final three goals belonged to the Wings.
Knowing they needed to get on the board — and quickly — the Wings scored a goal that was eventually waived off. But they took that momentum into the very next shift and got on the board at the 7:15 mark. That’s when Nick Justice skated the puck behind the Bulls’ net and spun and fired a tight-angled shot from the bottom of the circle going top shelf. It was his first goal wearing the Wings’ sweater, while Ronan Walsh picked up his sixth assist.
Just over two minutes later, the Wings entered the North Iowa zone once again and Jackson Anderson skated the puck around their net, taking his turn at a tight-angled shot. His shot went through the crease, but Patrick O’Connell was there to tap the puck in for the equalizer at the 9:35 mark. O’Connell recorded his third goal on the season, while Anderson picked up his eighth assist and Owen DuBois notched his ninth.
With the game tied at two-apiece, neither team took another penalty and continued to fire the puck. The Bulls outshot the Wings 14-9 in the final period and headed to overtime when the final horn sounded.
Each team maintained puck possession in the overtime period but North Iowa didn’t get a shot off. The Wings managed to fire off two, and the second one was the game-winner with just 35 seconds left on the clock. Devon Carlstrom skated the puck down the length of the ice and fed over to Nils Forselius, who fired a shot from between the circles that was initially blocked — but Carlstrom was there to put home the rebound to seal the comeback victory for the Wings and deliver the Bulls their first overtime loss on the year.
“I think it was good; our week was a good work week,” Wings head coach Scott Langer said about his team’s tenacity. “We put a lot of time into things this week and our guys were good. It’s good to get the first home sweep of the year. Having this feeling after a sweep in a home series is contagious.”
He attributed his veteran players with keeping an even keel and was impressed by his bench’s ability to dig themselves out of a two-goal hole late in the game.
“It shows the leadership in the locker room. The right things are being said and there wasn’t a whole lot of panic,” he said. “Sometimes teams get up and the other team goes away, but we just didn’t go away. Even after getting a goal called off, which was devastating, our guys kept fighting and they found a way to get the two points.”
Overall, Aberdeen outshot the Bulls for the second consecutive night, taking 37 shots while holding North Iowa to 30. Moore turned away 28 of those shots to grab his ninth win on the season. The Wings went 0-1 on the power play while holding the Bulls to 0-3 — over the weekend, they killed seven penalties, not allowing the Bulls a goal with the man-advantage.
“Our kill was good,” Langer said. “We didn’t get much time on the power play, even though we probably deserved more time. Not allowing their power play, which is pretty good, to get a goal is something that’s going to help you win a hockey game.”
Landon Parker led scoring for the Wings over the weekend with one goal and two assists, while O’Connell, Forselius and Nikolai Tishkevich each added a goal and an assist apiece; DuBois grabbed two assists, and eight more players each notched a point.
The Wings (10-7-1-2) move into second place in the Central Division standings with 23 league points, while North Iowa (10-8-1-0) falls to fourth with 21 points. But Aberdeen will have to watch what happens to the standings next weekend while they stay away from the ice on a bye weekend. They return to action on Saturday, Nov. 26 when they host the Bismarck Bobcats at the Odde.
“It’s time to heal,” Langer said looking ahead at the break. “We’ve got a week off and we’re right back at it against Bismarck, so it’s going to be back to work soon, but it’s good for the guys to get a little break.”