IOWA WILD REWRITES RECORD BOOKS IN 2017-18 SEASONApr 17, 2018
By Jennifer Schallmoser
Although the 2017-18 season ended without a playoff run for Iowa Wild, this year was one for the books. That is, the record books.
The 2017-18 Iowa Wild broke a total of 40 franchise records this season, both on team and individual levels, while tying an additional 15.
The club finished the season with 82 points, which is the most it has ever finished with in its five-year existence. The team also saw its longest home winning streak from November 9-17, 2017 (four games) and its longest home point streak from January 7 through February 12, 2018 (seven games). The attendance of 233,802 fans during the course of the season also helped break the team’s total season attendance record.
“I think it’s important that we kept going forward,” said Head Coach Derek Lalonde. “Us breaking those records I think is a sign of continually going forward.”
Also in terms of record-breaking, there is a single game that can’t be ignored. On February 2, 2018, the Wild shutout the Bakersfield Condors 8-0, earning its first-ever victory in California and setting four records with the win: largest margin of victory (eight), most goals in a game (eight), most points in a game (21) and most goals in a period (six in the second period).
Sixteen Iowa Wild skaters each picked up at least one point in that win, including forwards Gerry Mayhew, Justin Kloos, Zack Mitchell, Kyle Rau, Sam Anas, Colton Beck, Cal O’Reilly, Mario Lucia, Pat Cannone, Landon Ferraro and Luke Kunin, as well as defensemen Zach Palmquist, Brennan Menell, Carson Soucy, Nick Seeler and Alex Grant. With the victory, goaltender Niklas Svedberg earned his fifth consecutive win, setting his own franchise record for the longest winning streak among Iowa goaltenders.
On an individual level, Anas’ and Kloos’ seasons stood out, as both players etched their names in the record books numerous times.
Anas, the 5-foot-8, 160-pound native of Potomac, Maryland, set franchise records in goals (26), power-play assists (17) and power-play points (24). He, as well as Beck, also recorded the longest goal streaks in Iowa history. Beck registered six goals from October 13-27 and Anas correspondingly registered six goals from December 13-22. Anas also set the longest point streak in franchise history, recording 10 points from December 5-28.
“A huge credit (goes) to Sammy,” Lalonde said. “We established some trust last year and having to play the right way away from the puck, and he bought in, he trusted us, he had a great summer, he did those things.”
Lalonde recognized Anas had a great season in those areas of the game but he was most excited about Anas becoming a “plus player.” In 2017-18, Anas finished the season with a +2 rating, which was a 19-point improvement from his rookie season.
“I think he should be most excited about coming around, being a complete player,” Lalonde said.
As for Kloos, Lalonde is excited for what the forward brings to the game of hockey.
“Justin is the new NHL,” Lalonde said. “You need to play fast. You need to have a high IQ no matter what your stature is and I think he’s showing that.”
Kloos, the 5-foot-9, 175-pound rookie out of University of Minnesota, broke five records as a first-year pro. He set a franchise record among Iowa rookies in assists and points, collecting 31 helpers and recording 50 points. The Lakeville, Minnesota native also set records among Wild rookies throughout the power play, registering seven goals and 12 assists for a total of 19 points on the extra-man unit.
“The compete and the hockey sense, as well as playing with pace and being creative, led to just a remarkable season for him,” Lalonde said.
Other notable record-breakers this season include O’Reilly, the veteran who closed out the season with his 600th AHL game, as well as defensemen Menell, the 20-year old rookie from Woodbury, Minnesota, and Grant, an eight-year veteran from Antigonish, Nova Scotia.
O’Reilly finished the season with 49 assists and 64 points, setting records in both those categories. He also recorded the longest assist streak in club history, helping set up seven goals from March 13-24.
Menell, the 5-foot-11, 180-pound D-man, broke three records as a rookie blueliner in 2017-18. He skated in 72 games for the Wild, making the most appearances by a first-year defenseman in club history, and set records in goals (eight) and points (25).
Grant served as a veteran on the blue line, leading the way on the defense with four records of his own, including most games played (73), goals (13), first goals (three) and shots (198) by a Wild defenseman. Grant’s 198 shots not only were the most in Iowa history, but also were the most shots by a defenseman in the AHL this season.
While the team is on the outside of the playoffs looking in once again, the signs of improvement from year to year are certainly there.
“Statistically, there are a lot of things pointing that it was a better season,” said Lalonde. “What sticks out to me the most is just the expectation of where we are in this organization now and that it’s good and healthy.”
For a full list of the records broken in 2017-18, click here.