With only 8 regular season games to go, the Magicians are still on the outside looking in at the playoff picture in the Central Division. In a weekend series against the Aberdeen Wings, who currently occupy the final playoff spot in the division, the Magicians failed to gain any ground in the race, picking up 3 points over the weekend but surrendering 3 points as well. Aberdeen subsequently picked up a point on Tuesday night in an overtime loss to the Bismarck Bobcats. Going into this weekend, the Magicians are 4 points behind the Wings.
On Friday night at Richfield Ice Arena, the Magicians had an opportunity to gain 2 valuable points against the primary obstacle in their way of a playoff berth, the Aberdeen Wings. Conversely, the Wings entered the weekend with the goal of building on their 3-point lead over the Magicians in the division, and essentially guarantee themselves a spot in the post season. Aberdeen got the scoring in the first period, and the goal would be the only tally of the game until the third period. Shortly into the final frame, Magicians captain Jack Christensen tied the game on a goal assisted by Brady Heppner and Kyle Wagner. Throughout the game, the goaltenders were the story and each made key saves to keep their team's in the game. After Christensen's goal, neither offense was able to score and the game made its way into overtime and then ultimately, a shootout.
In the shootout, scoring was hard to come by once again for the skaters, but Magicians forward Tanner Tweten was able to notch a goal for the Magicians and propel them to a much needed victory. Magicians goaltender Daniil Gerasimov made 40 saves in regulation and was perfect in the shootout to earn the win and two points for the Magic. Because the game extended into overtime, the Wings picked up a point of their own, meaning the Magicians only made up a single point in the standings.
On Saturday, the Magicians had an opportunity to draw even with the Wings in the playoff race. In the first period, Travis Brown got the scoring started with a goal assisted by Tyler Bump and Johnny Panvica. Aberdeen answered with a goal of their own to even the score late in the period, but shortly thereafter Brady Heppner scored an unassisted breakaway goal to retake a Magicians lead heading into the first intermission.
After a scoreless second period, Aberdeen came out in the third and picked up two goals in the first half of the period to take a 3-2 lead. Content to play conservative hockey the rest of the way, the Wings tightened up defensively and limited the Magicians offensive attack. With just over 3-minutes to go, the Magicians were able to break through on a goal by Pierce Crawford assisted by Hugo Gallet and Johnny Panvica to tie the game. Regulation would once again end in a tie and the game went to overtime for the 2nd consecutive night. In overtime, Aberdeen was able sneak a puck past Magicians goaltender Daniil Gerasimov to earn the victory at Richfield. Gerasimov played well again, making 47 saves on 51 shots throughout the evening.
As a result of Saturday's overtime loss, the Magicians ended the weekend where they began, 3 points out of a playoff spot. Aberdeen was back in action last night against the Bismarck Bobcats, where they earned a point in an overtime loss. Heading into this weekend, the Magicians are 4-points behind the wings with 8 games to go. The Magic will face the Minot Minotauros, who currently are tied for the division lead, on the road in a series that will likely determine their fate moving forward.