IOWA FALLS INTO 0-2 SERIES HOLE WITH 4-3 LOSS TO CHICAGOMay 3, 2019
-Forward Luke Kunin nets two tallies in the loss-
ROSEMONT, ILL. – Iowa Wild (3-4) fell into an 0-2 hole in the Central Division Final, dropping Thursday night’s contest to the Chicago Wolves (5-2) by a score of 4-3. The game marked the end of a five-game, nine-day road trip for the Wild.
An eventful first period saw Chicago and Iowa score a combined five goals in the first 20 minutes. Chicago opened up the scoring as forward Brooks Macek got the game’s first tally for the second consecutive contest. He knocked in a rebound after goaltender Andrew Hammond (26 saves) bobbled a shot from defenseman Griffin Reinhart just 89 seconds into the game.
The Wolves then doubled their lead as forward Matthew Weis recorded his first career Calder Cup Playoff goal. Forward Stefan Matteau intercepted a Wild clear and sent the puck to Weis, who beat Hammond glove side for the tally at 4:42 in the first period.
Iowa got on the board as forward Gerry Mayhew scored his postseason-leading seventh goal at 10:15 in the opening frame. With the Wild on a power-play, forward Sam Anas sent a pass down low to forward Kyle Rau. Rau immediately forwarded the pass to Mayhew in the slot, who blasted the puck past goaltender Oscar Dansk (22 saves) for his third goal of the series. With his secondary assist, Anas extended his assist streak to four games and his five assists rank second in the Calder Cup Playoffs.
Wild forward Luke Kunin then tied the game at 2-2 at 17:50 in the first stanza. Defenseman Carson Soucy forced a turnover deep in the offensive zone and shuttled a puck to forward Matt Read in the slot for a shot on net. It was blocked, but Kunin whacked the rebound across the goal line off his backhand for his fourth of the postseason.
Just 38 seconds later, Chicago regained the lead as defenseman Zach Whitecloud potted his second of the postseason. Serving as a trailer in the offensive rush, he one-timed a pass from Macek past Hammond for the 3-2 lead.
At the end of the first period, Iowa trailed 3-2 with the Wolves leading in shots 14-10.
The Wolves once again pushed its lead to two when forward Tobias Lindberg netted his first of the postseason at 6:07 in the second period. Matteau sent a pass to Lindberg and he took a shot from the left faceoff circle that went top shelf on Hammond to push the game to 4-2.
Kunin cut Chicago’s lead to 4-3 with 58 seconds remaining in the second period for his second of the game. A failed clear by the Wolves gave Kunin the puck at the right point and he wristed a shot on net. Dansk never saw the shot and it fluttered into the top left corner for the unassisted tally.
Heading into the third period, Iowa trailed 4-3 and Chicago had a 26-14 shot advantage.
Neither team managed to find the back of the net in the third and Chicago took a 2-0 series lead with its 4-3 victory. Final shot totals were 30-25 in favor of Chicago.
Iowa finished the game 1-for-2 on the power play and 1-for-1 on the penalty kill. The Wild’s penalty kill has now finished off 27 of 28 power-play opportunities this postseason, the best mark in the league (96.4 percent).
Iowa returns to Wells Fargo Arena for Game 3 Sunday afternoon. Puck drop is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.
The Iowa Wild 2018-19 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.