2021-22 IOWA WILD SEASON IN REVIEWMay 6, 2022
The 2021-22 Iowa Wild season was one filled with twists, turns and milestone moments. Though a lot of things remained uncertain due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Iowa’s effort remained constant.
After splitting the first two games of the season with the Texas Stars on the road, the Wild kicked off their home slate on Oct. 22, 2021 with an exciting 6-3 victory over the Rockford IceHogs in front of 6,416 fans at Wells Fargo Arena. Fans in Des Moines fully embraced the return of their beloved Wild and set the tone for what transpired into a memorable campaign.
With the Wild faithful behind them, Iowa began the season on a tear, going 8-3-1-0 in their first 12 games from Oct. 16, 2021 to Nov. 19, 2021. In that span, the Wild outscored their opponents by a combined total of 46-31. Additionally, Wild Head Coach Tim Army earned his 100th win as the Head Coach of the Iowa Wild in a 2-1 victory over the Henderson Silver Knights on Nov. 27, 2021.
After a hot start, the Wild battled through adversity as players and staff dealt with injuries, recalls and health related issues. Iowa fans witnessed the National Hockey League (NHL) debuts of eight Iowa Wild players in the 2021-22 season. Iowa’s Adam Beckman, Matt Boldy, Mitchell Chaffee, Connor Dewar, Brandon Duhaime, Jon Lizotte, Marco Rossi and Mason Shaw all made their first appearance in an NHL game during the 2021-22 season. In addition to making his NHL debut, Rossi also broke the record for the most points scored by a rookie in Iowa Wild history with a goal against the Grand Rapids Griffins on Apr. 19, 2022. He finished his rookie season with 53 points (18-35=53) in 63 games.
In a year with uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and how it might affect Iowa, plenty of roster moves were made, giving Wild fans a glimpse at a bevy of different faces throughout the season. Including recalls, reassignments, signings and trades, there were 130 transactions made involving Iowa Wild players in the regular season alone.
On Jan. 7, 2022, Wild forward Cody McLeod played in the 1,000th professional game of his career on the road against the Grand Rapids Griffins. After toughing out the toughest stretch of their season and fighting hard through the first few months of the new year, the Wild entered the month of April outside of a playoff spot in the Central Division. With Iowa on the outside of the playoff picture, the Wild needed a strong performance in a six-game road trip beginning on Apr. 1 to compete for a playoff spot. Iowa did not disappoint, going 5-1-0-0 in that stretch, including two-game series sweeps of the Texas Stars and the Tucson Roadrunners.
Entering the final two games of Iowa’s season, the Wild needed two victories against the Rockford IceHogs and a Texas regulation loss in Manitoba on Tuesday, Apr. 26 to secure the final playoff spot in the Central Division. After defeating the IceHogs in Rockford on Sunday, Apr. 24 on the strength of two third period goals by Wild forward Kyle Rau, the first of which gave him 198 points as a member of the Iowa Wild and made him the all-time leading point scorer in Iowa Wild history, the Stars defeated Manitoba to dash Iowa’s playoff hopes.
Though they narrowly missed securing a birth in the Calder Cup Playoffs, Iowa’s effort and energy persisted throughout the duration of the season. In the biggest moments, the Wild came to play and fought valiantly for a chance to compete in the playoffs.
A large part of their late season success is attributed to Wild goaltender Zane McIntyre. The Wild acquired McIntyre on Jan. 4, 2022 and tallied a 2.45 goals against average and a .920 save percentage in 37 games with Iowa on the season. Even more impressive, McIntyre secured the start in each of Iowa’s final 14 games, earning eight wins in Iowa’s final playoff push. During that stretch, he earned AHL Player of the Week honors for the period ending on Apr. 10, 2022.
With the 2021-22 season in the metaphorical rearview mirror, Iowa’s sights turn towards their 10th anniversary season in 2022-23. The Wild kick off their milestone season celebration at Wells Fargo Arena as they open their 2022-23 home schedule on Friday, Oct. 14, 2022.
Iowa Wild hockey is presented by MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center. For more information, please visit www.iowawild.com. Fans can purchase single-game tickets through the team’s website at www.iowawild.com. Group tickets (10 or more), suites, Wild 365 memberships or premium tickets can be purchased by contacting the Iowa Wild Ticket Department at (515) 564-8700 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The 2022-23 season marks the 10th anniversary of Iowa Wild hockey. Fans can purchase season tickets for the 10th anniversary season at https://www.iowawild.com/wild-365.