RAU’S HAT TRICK LIFTS WILD TO 3-2 VICTORY AGAINST SAN DIEGOJan 14, 2019
-Wild snaps four-game losing streak, jumps into second place with the win-
DES MOINES, IOWA – Forward Kyle Rau netted the sixth hat trick in franchise history as Iowa Wild (21-12-4-3; 49 pts.) downed the San Diego Gulls (19-11-2-3; 43 pts.) by a score of 3-2 Monday night. The Wild’s 49 points are tied with Grand Rapids for the most in the Central Division, but the Griffins currently own the tie-breaker against the Wild.
Rau started his quest for a hat trick when he gave the Wild a 1-0 lead at 11:16 in the second period on the team’s seventh shorthanded goal of the year, a franchise record. While on the penalty kill, Rau forced a turnover at the Wild’s blueline and turned up ice. Forward Justin Kloos hit him with a pass for a breakaway opportunity and in alone on goaltender Kevin Boyle (23 saves), Rau beat him high blocker side for his ninth of the season.
San Diego tied it up at 1-1 with a power-play tally at 15:27 in the middle frame. With a 5-on-3 man advantage, defenseman Trevor Murphy blasted a slap shot from the point past goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen (28 saves) for his seventh of the season. Forwards Joseph Blandisi and Ben Street earned the helpers on the play.
With 40 minutes down, the score was tied 1-1 and shots were 20-16 in favor of San Diego.
At 8:43 in the third period, the Wild went up 2-1 with Rau’s second of the game. Once again, the Wild forced a turnover in the neutral zone, springing the team for an odd-man rush. Rau skated to the right face-off dot before rifling a shot that beat Boyle cleanly. Forward Will Bitten earned an assist on the play, his eighth of the season.
San Diego once again knotted things up as forward Adam Cracknell made it a 2-2 game with just two seconds remaining in the third period. With Boyle pulled, the puck squirted out from the corner to Cracknell in the slot. He wristed a shot over Kahkonen’s glove, forcing the game to overtime. Forwards Chase De Leo and Josh Mahura recorded assists on the play.
Rau completed the hat trick just more than a minute into overtime to give the home team a 3-2 victory. Coming down the right side of the ice, Rau lasered a puck off the inside of the right post, past Boyle’s glove, and into the net. Earning an assist on the game-winner was defenseman Ryan Murphy.
Rau’s hat trick was his first in an Iowa Wild sweater and was the team’s third this season, the most in any campaign in franchise history. The 3-2 victory also snapped a four-game losing skid for Iowa and brought San Diego’s eight-game winning streak to a close as well.
Iowa finished Monday’s game 0-for-4 on the power play and 4-for-5 on the penalty kill. Final shot totals were 30-26 in favor of San Diego.
The Wild continues its homestand with a series against the Ontario Reign starting Friday night. Puck drop is at 7:00 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.