IOWA WILD FALLS TO TEXAS 5-4 IN FIRST ROAD GAME OF THE SEASONOct 19, 2018
Iowa Wild (3-1-0-0; 6 pts.) suffered its first loss of the season as Texas Stars (3-1-1-1; 8 pts.) bested the visitors by a score of 5-4 on the back of four third period goals.
For the third time in four games, neither the Wild nor its opponent found the back of the net in the first period. Through the first 20 minutes, Iowa held a 13-6 shot advantage, while also going 1-for-1 on the penalty kill. Texas killed off both of its penalties in the first period as well.
Wild forward Kyle Rau finally broke the deadlock at 13:57 in the second period while on the power play. Rau, standing in front of Stars goaltender Landon Bow (26 saves), corralled a rebound off a shot from forward Cal O’Reilly and lofted the puck top-shelf to give the visitors the 1-0 lead. Defenseman Ryan Murphy notched the secondary assist on the goal, extending his point streak to four games and Rau’s score marked the fourth straight game the Wild has scored first.
At 17:27 in the middle frame, Texas tied the game at 1-1 with a power-play goal of its own. Defenseman Benjamin Gleason drove down the left side of the ice and beat goaltender Andrew Hammond (21 saves) short side. Gleason’s unassisted goal was his first professional tally.
When the second period ended, the score was tied 1-1 with Iowa outshooting Texas 20-13.
Forward Mike Liambas gave Iowa the 2-1 lead at 1:22 in the third period when he extended his goal streak to three games, the longest such streak of his career. Liambas caught a pass forward Dmitry Sokolov and took a shot in close and picked up his own rebound. On his backhand, Liambas put his shot past Bow for the score. Defenseman Carson Soucy earned the secondary assist.
Texas once again tied the game with a goal by forward Michael Mersch at 5:28 in the period. Mersch, after catching a pass from forward Joel L’Esperance in the slot, slipped the puck past Hammond’s left skate, recording the home team’s second power-play goal of the game.
Just 29 seconds later, the Stars took the lead on a tally from winger Nicholas Caamano. Coming off the rush, forward Erik Condra sent a pass into the middle of the ice to forward Colin Markison, who quickly continued the puck on to Caamano. Caamano directed a shot on net and beat Hammond up high to give Texas its first lead of the game at 3-2.
O’Reilly, after recording his first point of the season with his assist earlier in the game, potted his first goal of the 2018-19 campaign to tie the game at 3-3 at 7:32 in the third period. Forward Colton Beck drew the attention of Bow and the Stars defense from behind the net and fed a pass to O’Reilly out front, who snapped a puck through Bow’s five-hole for the score. Forward Luke Kunin recorded the secondary assist on the play.
L’Esperance registered Texas’ third power-play goal of the game with a tip at 9:01 in the last stanza. L’Esperance, standing near the right post, redirected a shot from Gleason over Hammond’s shoulder to give the Stars the 4-3 lead.
For the fourth time in as many games, forward Denis Gurianov scored for Texas, giving the home squad a 5-3 lead. The eventual game-winning goal came at 14:38, where Gurianov cashed in after sustained pressure in the offensive zone. Gurianov’s shot was deflected by an Iowa player before getting past Hammond.
Trailing 5-3 late in the contest, Iowa pulled Hammond for an extra attacker and a penalty to Texas defenseman Dillon Heatherington gave the visitors a 6-on-4 power-play advantage. Kunin capitalized on the opportunity, besting Bow with a shot to the near post to cut Texas’ lead to 5-4 at 19:30, with the assists going to O’Reilly and defenseman Eric Martinsson. O’Reilly’s three-point night was his highest total since notching four points (1g, 3a) against Milwaukee on Jan. 20, 2018.
Iowa’s comeback attempts fell short though, as Texas clinched the 5-4 win despite being outshot 30-26 by the Wild. Iowa finished the game 2-for-5 on the power play and 5-for-8 on the penalty kill. The eight penalties against were the most in a game for Iowa since being whistled for 12 on Feb. 3, 2018 at Ontario.
Iowa and Texas face off in a rematch Saturday with a 7:00 p.m. puck drop at H-E-B Center at Cedar Park.
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.