IOWA FIGHTS FOR 7-4 VICTORY AGAINST STOCKTONFeb 9, 2020
-Forward Gerry Mayhew records second four-point night of the season-
Iowa Wild (30-14-3-3; 66 pts) scored five unanswered goals as part of a 7-4 victory against the Stockton Heat (25-12-3-3; 56 pts.) Sunday afternoon.
The two teams played to a spirited first period as the clubs combined for six goals, 25 shots and 34 penalty minutes through the first 20 minutes of play. Stockton opened the scoring at 9:08 in the opening frame as forward Bryon Froese redirected a shot from forward Austin Czarnik over the glove of Mat Robson (24 saves) to take a 1-0 lead while on the power play. The visitors then doubled its lead as forward Alan Quine fought through a Wild defender and tucked the puck around Robson’s pad and into the back of the net for his 11th of the season.
Iowa started its run of five consecutive goals when defenseman Louie Belpedio cut Stockton’s lead to 2-1 at 13:16 in the first period. Forward JT Brown shifted the puck to Belpedio at the top of the zone and he blasted a one-timer past goaltender Artyom Zagidulin (11 saves). At 13:42 in the period, the Wild had a chance to tie the game at 2-2 as forward Gerry Mayhew was hauled down on a breakaway for a penalty shot. Skating in on Zagidulin, Mayhew tried to go glove side but was stopped by the netminder.
Mayhew made his next chance count as he evened the game at 2-2 at 15:09 in the opening stanza as he redirected a shot from defenseman Keaton Thompson with the shaft of his stick. The Wild then took the 3-2 lead as forward Mason Shaw knocked the puck out of midair and under Zagidulin’s blocker at 18:35 in the first period for his second of the season.
The Wild capped off its four-goal first period as forward Luke Johnson netted his ninth of the season, coming on the power play, at 19:24 in the frame. Johnson received a pass from forward Sam Anas and skated into the high slot before wristing a shot glove-side on Zagidulin.
Through the first 20 minutes of play, Iowa led 4-2 while outshooting Stockton 15-10.
Stockton made a goalie change at the start of the second period, replacing Zagidulin with Jon Gillies (15 saves) and the Wild responded by scoring the team’s fifth unanswered goal just 1:27 into the period. With the team on the man advantage, defenseman Brennan Menell unleashed a one-timer off a behind-the-back feed from Anas and beat Gillies under his glove for his fifth of the year.
After Iowa’s scoring run, Stockton scored two goals in 52 seconds to cut Iowa’s lead to 5-4. Forward Rinat Valiev cashed in on a rebound after Robson stopped a shot from forward Adam Ruzicka at 10:02 in the second period and then forward Luke Philp split the Wild defense before lifting the puck over Robson’s pads at 10:55 for his 16th of the season.
The Wild’s special teams continued to prove vital as Brown scored a shorthanded goal at 18:37 to push Iowa’s lead to 6-4. Mayhew sprung Brown with a home run pass through the air and the winger skated in on Gillies on a breakaway. Brown then faked a slap shot before dancing around the netminder and firing the puck into the open net for his eighth tally of the campaign.
Heading into the third period, Iowa led 6-4 and owned a 23-20 shot advantage.
The lone score for either side in the third period came at 17:46 as Mayhew netted an empty-net tally for his second goal and fourth point of the contest. Mayhew and forward Nico Sturm skated down the ice for a 2-on-1 when Sturm shuttled the puck over to Mayhew at Stockton’s blueline for the wide-open shot.
When the final buzzer sounded, Iowa skated away with the 7-4 victory, sweeping the weekend series with Stockton. Final shot totals were 33-29 for Iowa. The Wild went 2-for-3 on the power play and 4-for-5 on the penalty kill.
Mayhew’s four-point night moved him in second place in the AHL in points with 55 (35g, 20a), just two shy of the current leader and teammate, Anas, who has 57 points (17g, 40a). Robson is now 6-0-1-0 in his last seven contests, including wins in his last three, and has posted a 2.75 goals against average and a .912 save percentage during that stretch.
Sunday’s victory pushed Iowa 16 games above .500 for the first time in team history and the team’s 30 wins by Feb. 9 is the quickest in franchise history. The club’s win also extended the team’s home winning streak to eight games, a franchise record, and its overall win streak to six games, tied for a team record.
Iowa will battle the San Antonio Rampage Tuesday evening at Wells Fargo Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 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.