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Wings take series opener from Bismarck

Will Arquiett, of the Aberdeen WIngs, left, watches his shot on goal get past Bismarck Bobcats goalie Ian Shane, right, during Friday night’s NAHL playoff game at Odde Ice Center. In the foreground for the Bobcats is John Gormley. Photo by John Davis taken 6/4/2021

As temps soared into triple digits outside, the Aberdeen Wings got off to a hot start inside Friday night.

The Wings scored two goals within the first 6 1/2 minutes after opening puck drop on the way to a 5-3 win over the Bismarck Bobcats Friday night at Odde Ice Center.

“We wanted to get on them pretty quickly as we did in the first,” said Christian Abrams, who accounted for the second goal in the contest. “They came back towards the end, but we found a way to win and that’s all that matters.”

Abrams produced the second goal of the night off an assist from Natan Vertes.

“‘Clay’ (Clayton Cosentino) just moved it to me. I was just trying to get it in the zone,” Abrams said. “I made a pass to Vertes. I wanted it back. I was just trying to get it to the net. It ended up squeaking through and we were up 2-0. It was a good feeling to get the boys going.”

It was Will Arquiett who got the offense ignited with a goal less than two minutes in.

The Wings were coming off a five-game series against Minot that finished Sunday, while Bismarck had not played in more than a week. Yet, it was the host squad that looked fresher from the start.

“I personally think it might be even an advantage for us, because they haven’t played in 10 days or so,” Arquiett said. “I don’t like sitting that long without playing.”

The Bobcats got one of those goals back later in the period and trailed just 2-1 after one.

“We scored two early and then maybe we let off the gas a little bit,” Arquiett said. “I think intermission helped us. We came back harder and put it back on them.”

After a scoreless 19 minutes of the second period, Aberdeen regained its two-goal lead when Payton Matsui found the back of the net with 36 seconds left. That gave the Wings a shot of momentum heading into the final period.

“I mean it was huge. Every goal is huge in the playoffs,” Matsui said. “It’s just one of those that you’re happy about it to get the boys going.”

The visitors eventually drew even, tying the score at 3-3 midway through the third. However, that lasted all of 10 seconds before Cosentino put the Wings ahead for good with a goal shortly after the face-off.

Aberdeen added an empty netter for the final margin of difference.

Jake Sibell was once again solid in goal for the Wings, stopping 26 shots.

“I think he was definitely the rock. We rely on him way too much,” Matsui said. “We know it in the locker room. For him to come up with any save for us, whether it be momentum or stopping the puck behind the net for our ‘D’ to get the breakout going, it’s huge. It definitely doesn’t go unnoticed in the locker room.”

The two teams are back at it again tonight at the Odde before the series moves to Bismarck next week.

To see complete stats from the contest, click on the following link:

https://www.aberdeenwings.com/stats/game-center/31942

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