IOWA FALTERS AGAINST STOCKTON IN 5-1 DEFEATDec 22, 2018
-Goaltender Andrew Hammond suffered the loss in first game since Nov. 17 -
DES MOINES, IOWA – Iowa Wild (15-8-4-3; 37 pts.) suffered a 5-1 loss to the Stockton Heat (13-13-3-0; 29 pts.) Saturday night, closing out the two-game set.
Through the first 20 minutes of play, neither team was able to find the back of the net, ending a stretch of 37 periods where at least one team scored in an Iowa game. After one period of hockey, the Wild led in shots 12-7.
The deadlock was broken by Heat forward Tyler Graovac as he scored a shorthanded goal just 29 seconds into the second period. Jumping into a 2-on-1 rush, forward Buddy Robinson feathered a pass to Graovac, who cut through the slot. Graovac deked in front of goaltender Andrew Hammond (16 saves) before lifting the puck over his pads for the eighth tally of his season. Defenseman Rinat Valiev also earned an assist on the play.
At 10:50 in the second period, Iowa evened the game at 1-1 thanks to a blistering shot from defenseman Louie Belpedio. After a shot attempt by forward Matt Read was blocked, forward Justin Kloos kicked the puck back out to Belpedio on the left side of the blueline. Belpedio unleashed a slap shot that beat goaltender Tyler Parsons (31 saves) blocker side for his second goal in as many games. The assist also marked Kloos’ seventh point of the series (3g, 4a).
Stockton regained the lead when forward Spencer Foo registered his ninth goal of the season at 12:19 in the middle frame. On the power play, Graovac picked up a loose puck at the point and hit forward Dillon Dube with a backhanded pass. Dube immediately forwarded it to Foo on the far post, who cut in front of Hammond and slotted the puck past Hammond’s right pad for the score.
At the end of the second period, Stockton led 2-1 while Iowa had a 17-14 shot lead.
The Heat pushed its lead to 3-1 as Graovac potted his second shorthanded goal of the game with a tally at 5:08 in the third period. Robinson sprung Graovac with a breakaway, where he chipped the puck over Hammond’s glove on his backhand for the goal.
Stockton extended its lead to 4-1 on a broken play at 7:40 in the final frame. Forward Michael Phillips blocked a Wild clearing attempt in the neutral zone, positioning himself for a breakaway. Hammond came out of his crease to try and break up the play, but Phillips managed to throw the puck in the slot for forward Brett Pollock, who buried his shot into the open net for his first goal of the season.
Graovac capped off his return to Wells Fargo Arena by securing the hat-trick with an empty-net tally at 19:11 in the third period, once again shorthanded. Graovac’s goal was his fourth point of the night (3g, 1a) and his sixth of the series (4g, 2a). His three shorthanded goals in a single game tied an AHL record.
At the final buzzer, Stockton won 5-1 with Iowa outshooting the Heat 32-21. Iowa went 0-for-6 on the power play and 5-for-6 on the penalty kill. The three short-handed goals allowed by Iowa are the most in a single game in franchise history.
Iowa continues its homestand with a contest against the Rockford IceHogs on Dec. 26. Puck drop is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.
The Iowa Wild 2018-19 season is presented by Mercy 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.