KAHKONEN SHINES AS WILD SHUTS OUT ROCKFORD 3-0Jan 4, 2019
-Iowa extends its winning streak to a season-high five games in the victory-
Goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen (26 saves) continued his stellar play against the Rockford IceHogs (15-15-3-4; 37 pts.) as he and the Iowa Wild (20-8-4-3; 47 pts.) shutout the visitors by a score of 3-0 Friday night.
After a scoreless first two periods, the Wild finally broke the deadlock when forward Colton Beck found the back of the net at 6:08 in the third period to give the home side a 1-0 lead. Beck caught a pass from forward Will Bitten in the right face-off circle and snapped a shot past the blocker of Rockford goaltender Anton Forsberg (30 saves). The goal was Beck’s 11th of the season, establishing a new career-high for the veteran. Forward Cal O’Reilly earned a helper on the play as well.
Just less than a minute after Beck’s score, Bitten found the back of the net to make it a 2-0 game. With a scramble in front of Forsberg, Bitten whacked at the loose puck, pushing it across the goal line for his second of the season and the first multi-point effort of his career. Forward Joel Eriksson Ek recorded the primary assist on the play, extending his point streak to four games this year and eight contests dating back to last season. Also recording an assist on the play was defenseman Brennan Menell, his 19th of the year.
Forward Justin Kloos iced the game with an empty-net goal at 19:30 in the third period for his 11th goal of the season. O’Reilly notched his 22nd assist and forward Matt Read registered his eighth assist of 2018-19 on the play.
When the final horn sounded, Iowa earned a 3-0 victory, extending its winning streak to five games. Shot totals were 13-5 in favor of Iowa after the first period, 23-20 for Rockford at the end of the second and 33-26 for Iowa after 60 minutes of play. Iowa finished the night 0-for-5 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill.
In four games against the IceHogs this season, Kahkonen is 4-0-0 with a 0.24 goals against average and a .992 save percentage, recording three consecutive shutouts against Rockford in the process. His five total shutouts this season leads all AHL goaltenders.
Friday’s victory marked the quickest Iowa has reached 20 wins in a season in franchise history. The Wild’s five-game winning streak is a season-high for the club and is the longest active streak in the AHL.
Iowa and Rockford complete the home-and-home series with a matchup in Rockford Sunday afternoon. Puck drop is at 4:00 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.