Wings Force 4 Games after Saturday’s OT thriller

Aberdeen Wings

April 21, 2024 – North American Hockey League (NAHL)
Aberdeen Wings news story

Last Friday and Saturday was officially the first weekend of the Robertson Cup Playoffs! The Aberdeen Wings will take on the Bismarck Bobcats and games 1 and 2 were played in Bismarck.

Friday’s match would start right at the 1:39 mark, when Bismarck’s Mathieu Bourgault would find the back of the net. Later in the period, the Wings would go on the power play to try to create some momentum, but they couldn’t. The period would end after Bismarck’s Matthew Rafalski increased their lead. The Wings would enter the second period trailing 0-2.

The scoring of the second period would begin as Aberdeen’s Zachary Reim would close the score gap. This goal was assisted by Leonid Bulgakov and Simon Pollock. However, the answer would be answered when Bobcat’s Mathieu Bourgault would get his second of the night, leaving the score 1-3 (Bismarck) heading into the third period.

Almost the entire third period would go without goals, but there were plenty of scoring opportunities for both teams. Special teams were especially important during this period as the Wings would utilize both their power play and penalty kill lines. The final penalty taken by the Wings would put Bismarck on the power play, and Evan Hunter would extend Bismarck’s lead even further. The Wings then pulled their goalkeeper to try to reduce the score, but Bismarck’s Kai Dunits scored on the empty net, leaving the score 1-5 – the Wings would drop game one of the Robertson Cup Playoffs.

Adam Dybal was in net for the Wings, making 37 of 41 saves.

Although the Wings dropped game one, they had a chance at redemption on Saturday night. The Wings game prepared for deep defense and would come out of the first period scoreless on both sides.

More than half the period passed without scoring from either side until the 1:20 mark when Mathieu Bourgault would add to his postseason tally for the Bobcats. However, with 9.5 seconds left in the second period, Aberdeen and Augustana promised Leonid Bulgakov would score and tie the game to enter the third period. This goal was assisted by Matthew Wisener and Nikolai Tishkevich.

Immediately in the third period, Wings Drew Mackie would take a shot at the net that would deflect off the pad of Bismarck player Stephen Peck. However, he would collect his own rebound and find the back of the net. This goal was assisted by Nikolai Tishkevich and Simon Pollock. With just a few minutes left in the game, Bobcat’s Kade Kohanski would tie the score, sending them into an overtime period of the playoffs.

The playoff rules state that overtime is 5-on-5 hockey with 20-minute periods and a full intermission in between. Both teams went to the locker room to concentrate on the coming period.

Then, just 15 seconds into extra time, Aberdeen’s Leonid Bulgakov would score his 24th goal of the season, with assists from Nikolai Tishkevich and Matthew Wisener.

Adam Dybal was in net again for the Wings on Saturday night, stopping 29 of 31.

Three stars of the match for Saturday evening were Nikolai Tishkevich from Aberdeen (3 assists), Tommy Cronin from Bismarck (2 assists) and Leonid Bulgakov from Aberdeen (2 goals).

Leonid Bulgakov was also named First Star of the NAHL Robertson Cup on Saturday evening.

The Wings tied the series with Bismarck, forcing a game 4 in the best of 5 series. Both matches will be played this weekend, April 26 and 27, at the Odde Ice Center!

Make sure you follow us on all our social media as we’ll be posting updates on these games all week long!

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