ABERDEEN, S.D. – Opportunity knocked early for the Aberdeen Wings on Friday night, but each time it did, it went straight to the back door. A trio of goals in the first period overshadowed a big night for North Iowa forward Max Scott (San Jose, Calif./Amarillo Bulls), and the Bulls took a 5-2 loss to the Wings, dropping out of first place in the North American Hockey League’s Central Division.
North Iowa fired the first salvo at 3:36 of the opening period, with Joe Sweeney (San Jose, Calif./Chippewa Steel) cycling the puck to Sean Vlasich (Upper Saddle River, N.J./Amarillo Bulls) at the left point, and Scott deflecting Vlasich’s one-time rocket from the left point past Dominik Wasik for the 1-0 lead. The lead lasted 45 seconds, thanks to a late-developing odd-man rush that saw Jacob Bosse find Jackson Yee on the backdoor for a tying 2-on-1 tally.
Two goals just 62 seconds apart helped the Wings take firm control of the contest – at 8:34 of the period and the North Iowa defense overloading one half of the ice, Parks Wallace snuck behind the Bulls defense to snap home a one-timer from Anthony Messuri for the go-ahead goal. With 10:34 remaining in the period, Cade Nielson was able to stay ahead of the North Iowa defense and hold a 2-on-1 chance together, with Patrick O’Connell snapping one over Hunter Garvey’s (San Diego, Calif./Amarillo Bulls) right shoulder for the 3-1 advantage.
The Bulls would not go quietly into the intermission, though – with 2:42 remaining in the period, Ryan Coughlin (Charlotte, N.C./Amarillo Bulls) led the rush down the right wing, but Will Gilson was able to get the shaft of his stick on Coughlin’s shot in front of the net. Scott, however, snuck in behind the defense and snapped the second chance past Wasik for a stick-side goal to cut the lead to 3-2.
North Iowa nearly went back into the locker room with a chance to wipe out the lead, but the Wings snagged two goals in the final 30 seconds of the second period to retake firm control of the contest. After Garvey blocked Kevin MacKay’s shot from the top of the left-wing circle, the two teams scrambled for the rebound for several seconds until Landry Schmuck grabbed the puck just five feet above the goal line and snapped it home for a 4-2 lead.
The Wings took a three-goal lead to the locker room after another marker just 16 seconds later, with Nielson finding Bosse across the slot, and his extra move to the backhand helped him beat Garvey and push the lead to 5-2 going to the third period. The Bulls were never able to score in the game’s final 20 minutes, despite a 16-7 shots-on-goal advantage and a trio of power play opportunities.
“We just didn’t play a full 60 (minutes),” said Scott. “Their team forechecked hard, and put us in situations where we didn’t make the greatest plays and they won a lot of battles along the wall.”
Bosse wrapped up the night with a goal and an assist, while Nielson earned a pair of assists in the win for Aberdeen. Scott’s effort was his first multi-goal showing at the junior level and pushed him to four goals on the season, matching his effort from last season in just 13 games. The loss saw Chris Carroll’s (Islip, N.Y./Amarillo Bulls) 10-game point streak come to an end for North Iowa.
Garvey took the loss, making 27 saves on 32 Aberdeen shots and dropping to 4-2-0-1 on the year, while Wasik’s 36 saves gave him a win over the Bulls just four weeks after being chased from a game at North Iowa in the first period.
The Bulls fall to 8-4-0-1 with the loss, falling a point behind Austin in the Central Division standings after the Bruins’ shootout loss to Minot Friday night. Aberdeen climbed back above .500 with the victory, moving to 6-5 on the season. The teams will tangle again on Saturday evening in the Hub City, with the opening puck drop at the Odde Ice Center slated for 7:15 p.m. Live streaming coverage of Saturday’s game is available on HockeyTV and Mixlr.
North Iowa returns home on November 5 and 6 against the Bismarck Bobcats – to purchase advance tickets to those games, or any upcoming Bulls home games, call 641-423-4625 or click here. Updated news and information on North Iowa Bulls hockey are always available at www.northiowabulls.com, and by following the team’s social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
North Iowa 2 0 0 – 2
Aberdeen 3 2 0 – 5
1st Period-1, North Iowa, Scott 3 (Vlasich, Sweeney), 3:36. 2, Aberdeen, Yee 5 (Bosse, Brimanis), 4:21. 3, Aberdeen, Wallace 1 (Messuri), 8:34. 4, Aberdeen, O’Connell 2 (Neilson, Gaffney), 9:36. 5, North Iowa, Scott 4 (Coughlin), 17:18. Penalties-Scott Nio (high sticking-double minor), 20:00.
2nd Period-6, Aberdeen, Schmuck 3 (Davis), 19:33. 7, Aberdeen, Bosse 2 (Neilson), 19:47. Penalties-Messuri Abd (checking from behind-minor), 14:34.
3rd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Davis Abd (hooking-minor), 6:23; Gaffney Abd (holding-minor), 13:40; Gaffney Abd (tripping-minor), 18:10.
Shots on Goal-North Iowa 12-8-18-38. Aberdeen 14-11-7-32.
Power Play Opportunities-North Iowa 0 / 4; Aberdeen 0 / 0.
Goalies-North Iowa, Garvey 4-2-0-1 (32 shots-27 saves). Aberdeen, Wasik 2-1-0-0 (38 shots-36 saves).
Linesmen-Grant Crowell, Landon Depew.