Gage Mackie’s goal with 3:49 left in overtime gave the Aberdeen Wings a 3 – 2 win over the Aston Rebels to even the Robertson Cup semi-final series one game apiece to force a third and deciding game today at 4:00pm ET. The winner of this series will move on to play the Lone Star Brahmas in the Robertson Cup finals tomorrow.
The Wings jumped out of the gate very quickly – just thirty-two seconds into the game. After a turnover by a Rebels defenseman at center ice, Wings defenseman Andy Carroll entered the offensive zone on a two on one with Colin Raver. As Carroll crossed the blueline he passed the puck over to his left to Raver. Raver took a shot that was saved by Rebels goalie Mareks Mitens but the rebound was picked up by Carter Roo who put it past Mitens to give Aberdeen a 1 – 0 lead.
Mitens and his Wings counterpart Forbes Ploszaj had to make several key saves to keep the score the same through two periods of play. However, as time was winding down in the second Aberdeen’s Colton Fletcher was called for cross-checking with forty Forbes Ploszaj six seconds left in the period.
Down by a goal and entering the third period with a man advantage, the Rebels looked to tie the score early. It didn’t. After Jensen Zerban won the opening faceoff, the puck went back to Brennan Kapcheck. The Rebels defenseman took the puck behind his own net to set up the play. As Kapcheck skated into the neutral zone he sent an errant pass to his left that was picked up by Raver. Raver sent a bounce pass off the far side boards where it was picked up by Roo who walked in on Mitens and beat him bar down to give the Wings a 2 – 0 lead just eighteen seconds into the third period.
The Rebels then would make sure the dreaded two goal lead theory hold water. After a battle along their near side boards, Rebels forward Dustin Manz would bring the puck up through center ice. As he entered the offensive zone he dumped the puck into the zone. The puck went behind the net and up along the far side boards where it was picked up by Auggie Moore. Moore shot it on net where Ryan Patrick redirected the puck but Ploszaj made a big save but the rebound came out to Manz who put behind Ploszaj to cut the Wings lead in half just 1:41 into the third period.
A minute later the Rebels would tie the game at two. As a Wings defenseman tried to dump the puck out of his zone it was intercepted by Kolby Vegara. Vegara took a shot from the top of near side blueline that beat Ploszaj to knot the game at 2:42 into the third period.
Both teams had their chances to win it in regulation but each goaltender made key saves to key the other team at bay.
As the game entered into overtime and wore on Mitens and Ploszaj had to come up big. Then with time winding down in the extra period, Fletcher would enter the Rebels zone. He carried the puck all the way around the net and back towards the high slot. He took a shot that was redirect by Mackie past Mitens to give the Wings the 3 – 2 win to force the third and deciding game.
Mitens stopped 30 of 33 shots while Ploszaj turned aside 34 of 36. Click here for the box score.
The deciding game will be held today at 4:00pm ET.