IOWA SNAPS LOSING STREAK WITH 4-3 SHOOTOUT VICTORYDec 15, 2019
-Forwards Will Bitten, Kyle Rau record multi-point efforts-
Iowa Wild (13-10-2-2; 30 pts.) snapped a four-game losing streak with a 4-3 win in the shootout Saturday night against the Ontario Reign (11-11-3-1; 26 pts.), moving into second place in the Central Division.
For just the eighth time this season, the Wild opened the scoring as forward Connor Dewar tallied his third of the season. With Iowa shorthanded, forward Will Bitten blocked a pass at the Wild’s blueline and broke free for a breakaway. He skated in on goaltender Cal Petersen (28 saves) and was stopped, but Dewar followed up the shot and buried the rebound at 18:47 in the first period.
At the end of the first period, Iowa led 1-0 while leading in shots 12-11.
At 13:32 in the second period, Ontario knotted the game at 1-1, creating a cascade of stuffed animals. Defenseman Sean Durzi sent a pass to forward Rasmus Kupari inside the left circle, who one-timed a shot past the sliding goaltender Mat Robson (37 saves) for the power-play goal and his sixth of the season.
After a lengthy delay to clean the ice following the Teddy Bear Toss, the Reign took a 2-1 lead at 16:41 in the middle frame. Defenseman Mikey Anderson took a shot from the blueline that forward Lance Bouma deflected past Robson for his seventh of the year and Ontario’s first shorthanded goal of the 2019-20 campaign.
Heading into the third period, Ontario led 2-1 and had a 30-22 shot advantage.
Forward Will Bitten tied the game at 2-2 as he scored his third goal of the season. From the top of the right circle, forward Sam Anas sent a pass for forward Kyle Rau down low, who immediately kicked the puck back into the slot for Bitten. He then snapped a shot under the glove of Petersen for the power-play tally at 12:51 in the third period.
The Wild took a 3-2 lead as defenseman Louie Belpedio earned his second goal of the year with just 26 seconds left in the third period. Forward Luke Johnson cycled the puck to the top of the zone, where Belpedio walked into a one-timer and sent the shot through Petersen and into the back of the net. Rau was credited with the secondary assist, his 10th of the season.
With 12 seconds remaining, Ontario tied the game back up at 3-3. Forward Brett Sutter fed a pass to forward Gabriel Vilardi from behind the net and Vilardi snuck a shot past Robson for his fourth tally of the year.
At the end of regulation, the score was tied 3-3 with Ontario leading in shots 37-29.
After a scoreless extra session, the two teams went to the shootout. Both Anas and Ontario’s Martin Frk scored in the first round, while Johnson and Vilardi missed in the second round. In the third round, Reign forward Carl Grundstrom was stopped by Robson, but forward Dmitry Sokolov converted on his attempt, giving the Wild a 4-3 victory.
Ontario finished the game leading in shots 40-32. Iowa went 1-for-5 on the power play and 5-for-6 on the penalty kill.
Saturday’s victory was the Wild’s sixth when trailing after two periods, the most in the AHL. The win also snapped a four-game losing streak.
Iowa and Ontario will meet again Sunday evening for the fourth and final time this season. Puck drop is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. CT.
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.