The Minnesota Magicians made the trip to South Dakota last weekend to face off against the Aberdeen Wings at Odde Ice Center. It was a critical two-game series, as the two teams are each battling for the final playoff spot in the back-and-forth Central Division.
Friday night's contest was close throughout, as the two teams alternated control of momentum. Ultimately, the Wings were able to outgun the Magicians by a final score of 5-4. On Saturday night, the Magicians' offense fell silent while the Wings were once again able to put up a 5-spot, this time winning by a final score of 5-2.
Coming up this weekend is a rematch between the two teams at Richfield Ice Arena. Currently, the Wings occupy the final playoff spot in the Central, sitting 3 points ahead of the Magicians. A sweep of the Wings this weekend would put the Magicians back in control of their own destiny in the season's final 8 games.
On Friday night in Aberdeen, the Magicians were greeted by a hostile Wings crowd of over 1,300 spectators. Aberdeen got the scoring started and took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission. Early in the second period, the Wings increased their lead to 2-0. Minutes later, the Magicians were able to answer back with a goal by rookie forward Pierce Crawford (Andrew Zerban). Later in the period, Casey Jerry was able to tie the game for the Magic on a goal assisted by Michael Wilson.
The game would enter the third period tied at 2-2. In the final frame, the Wings were able to strike first to retake the lead. A couple of minutes later, Magicians forward Tanner Tweeten tied the game once again on a goal assisted by Casey Jerry. With the game deadlocked at 3-3, Aberdeen was able to mount successive goals to take a 2-goal lead with only a short time remaining. An extra attacker resulted in one last Magicians goal from Tanner Tweeten (Casey Jerry, Matt Denman), but it would not be enough as the Wings escaped with a 5-4 victory. Magicians goaltender Will Ulrich made 26 saves on 31 shots in the loss.
On Saturday, the Magicians looked to bounce back after a disappointing defeat the previous night. In the first period, defenseman Travis Brown got the scoring started for the Magicians on an unassisted goal about five minutes into the game. It would be the only scoring of the period and the team's entered the second with the score at 1-0 in favor of the Magicians. In the middle period Aberdeen went off, scoring 4 consecutive goals to take complete control of the game. An early third period goal by John Peterson (Mitch Slattery) on the powerplay cut into the lead slightly, but Aberdeen scored one of their own and skated away to a 5-2 victory and a weekend sweep.
The Magicians will have a chance to erase Aberdeen's advancement in the standings this weekend, as the two teams face off at Richfield Ice Arena. The Wings currently occupy the Central's final playoff spot, sitting 3-points ahead of the fifth place Magicians.