SPECIAL TEAMS GUIDE WILD TO 5-4 WIN AGAINST ONTARIOMar 3, 2019
-Wild defenseman Brennan Menell records franchise-record five assists-
ONTARIO, CALIF. – Iowa Wild (30-17-7-5; 72 pts.) powered to a 5-4 win against the Ontario Reign (19-26-5-2; 45 pts.) thanks to four power-play goals and a franchise record five-assist night from defenseman Brennan Menell.
The Reign took a 1-0 lead at 3:02 in the first period as forward Cliff Watson recorded his first career AHL goal. Watson took a slap shot from the left side of the blueline and beat goaltender Andrew Hammond (33 saves) high. Forwards Mikey Eyssimont and Kyle Bauman logged assists on the play.
Forward Gerry Mayhew tied the game for the Wild at 16:51 in the first period, making him the first player on the team to 20 goals this season. While on the power play, Mayhew received a pass Menell at the top of the left faceoff circle and blasted a shot past goaltender Cal Petersen (40 saves), moving the game to 1-1.
Less than a minute later, forward Sam Anas gave the Wild a 2-1 lead. With another man advantage, forward Cal O’Reilly fed Anas a pass on the right side of the net. He skated in and snapped a shot over the blocker of Petersen, giving the visitors the lead in the process. Menell recorded the secondary assist on the play.
After 20 minutes of play, Iowa led 2-1 while Ontario held a 16-14 shot advantage.
The second period featured six goals between the two sides, starting with the Wild extending its lead to 3-1 at 2:38. Forward Kyle Rau circled behind the net before hitting forward Dmitry Sokolov with a pass in the slot. Sokolov beat Petersen for his 12th of the season and Menell recorded his third assist of the game on the play.
At 7:08 in the middle frame, Eyssimont notched his second point of the contest, kicking off a stretch of three goals in 1:51 for the Reign. Eyssimont’s goal pulled Ontario within one at 3-2 and then forward Kale Clague scored 18 seconds later, beating Hammond to tie the game at 3-3.
The Reign took the lead once again when forward Mike Amadio netted his fourth goal of the season, putting Ontario ahead 4-3 at 8:59 in the middle period. Amadio received a pass from forward Matt Moulson near the goal line, turned and slipped the puck through Hammond’s five-hole for the score.
O’Reilly snapped the Reign’s goal streak and tied the game at 4-4 in the process when he potted a power-play goal at 14:31 in the second period. O’Reilly cradled a pass from Anas near the left faceoff dot and lasered a shot over Petersen’s glove for his 11th of the year. Menell once again recorded an assist, his fourth of the game.
Menell set a franchise record with his fifth assist when Anas notched his second score of the game at 19:12 in the second stanza. On the power play once again, Menell swung a pass to Anas in the right faceoff circle. Anas skated in and delayed, putting the Reign defense out of position, before rifling a shot into the top left corner. O’Reilly earned the secondary assist for his 37th of the season.
Through two periods, Iowa led 5-4 and owned a 32-28 shot lead.
After the flurry of goals in the second, neither team found the back of the net in the third and the Wild skated away with a 5-4 victory, the team’s first win ever in Ontario. Iowa finished the game 4-for-6 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill, including a critical kill for the final 1:41 of the contest. The Wild outshot Ontario 45-37 in the contest.
Menell’s five assists and four power-play helpers set a new franchise high in a single game. The team’s four goals on the man advantage and 22 shots in the second period both tied a team record.
With the victory, Iowa took five of a possible six points while on the weekend’s 3-in-3 and the team’s 72 points tied the Chicago Wolves for the most in the Central Division. The win also marked the fastest Iowa has reached the 30-win mark in a season.
Iowa continues its season-long six game road trip with a contest against the Grand Rapids Griffins. Puck drop is 6:00 p.m. CT.
The Iowa Wild 2018-19 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.