IOWA EARNS 4-2 VICTORY AGAINST GRAND RAPIDSDec 20, 2019
-Forward Colton Beck becomes first Wild skater to play 300 games for the team-
Iowa Wild (15-11-2-2; 34 pts.) stuffed the Grand Rapids Griffins (12-15-1-2; 27 pts.) for a 4-2 victory Friday night in the organization’s Teddy Bear Toss Game.
Grand Rapids took a 1-0 lead at 15:21 in the first period as forward Eric Tangradi scored his fourth of the season. With the Griffins on the power play, forward Matt Puempel fed Tangradi in the slot and he one-timed a shot past the glove of goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen (26 saves) for the tally.
For the second time in as many seasons, forward Colton Beck made it rain bears at the Wells Fargo Arena as he scored his second goal of the season at 16:54 in the opening frame. Beck drove to the net and took a shot that was saved by goaltender Jimmy Howard (25 saves) and then forward Kyle Rau clanked the rebound off the post. Beck then knocked the puck across the goal line on Iowa’s third attempt for his 100th AHL point, coming in his 300th game in a Wild sweater.
At the end of the first period, the score was tied 1-1 and Grand Rapids led in shots 14-11.
Forward Will Bitten earned his fifth goal of the season on a gaffe by Howard at 3:06 in the middle stanza. Forward Connor Dewar dumped the puck into the Griffin’s defensive zone and Howard mishandled the puck behind the net. Bitten then lifted Howard’s stick to corral the loose puck, turned and slid it into the open cage to take a 2-1 lead. Defenseman Louie Belpedio logged the secondary assist on the play.
Just 26 seconds later, the Griffins responded to tie the game at 2-2. Forward Dominik Shine ripped a slap shot from the left point and forward Matthew Ford got his stick on the puck, redirecting it past Kahkonen for his fifth of the campaign.
Heading into the third period, the score was tied at 2-2 and shots were 24-18 in favor of Grand Rapids.
Iowa regained the lead at 7:35 in the third period as forward Gerry Mayhew netted his 15th tally of the year. Rau found Mayhew in the slot and after settling the bouncing pass, he snapped a shot past Howard glove side to make it a 3-2 game. Bitten recorded his third point of the game on the play.
Mayhew then iced the game with 35 seconds remaining as he potted an unassisted empty-net goal, his 16th of the year. At the final buzzer, the Wild recorded a 4-2 victory and owned a 29-28 shot advantage. Iowa went 0-for-3 on the power play and 3-for-4 on the penalty kill.
With his two helpers in the contest, Rau extended his assist streak to five games and his point streak to seven games, amassing 11 points (1g, 10a) during that stretch. Belpedio pushed his point streak to four games with his assist on Bitten’s first goal and Bitten’s three-point effort (1g, 2a) was a season-high and his first three-point game since Jan. 18, 2019. With his two goals tonight, Mayhew now has 15 points (11g, 4a) in 15 career games against the Griffins.
Iowa and Grand Rapids will meet again Saturday night to conclude the Wild’s first-ever Iowa Hockey Classic. The Des Moines Oak Leafs and Des Moines Capitals will play a junior varsity game at 12:30 p.m. and a varsity game at 3:00 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena, followed by the Wild versus the Griffins at 7:00 p.m.
The Iowa Wild 2019-20 regular season is presented by MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center and runs from October through April. For more information, please contact the Wild office by calling 515-564-8700 or by visiting www.iowawild.com.