THE WILD WIRE - #4Oct 29, 2018
Well, the month of October (game-wise) has come to an end for your Iowa Wild and it turned out to be the best start to a season in team history. Here’s a glimpse at some of the milestones and records achieved through the season’s first seven games:
- Most wins in the month of October (five)
- Most consecutive home wins – EVER (five)
- Fourth hat trick recorded in team history – Jordan Greenway on Oct. 27 vs. Colorado
- Defenseman Ryan Murphy recorded his 100th career AHL point on Oct. 27 vs. Colorado
- Forward Mike Liambas played in his 300th career (regular season) AHL game on Oct. 12 vs. Texas
I once had a Minnesota hockey ops executive say, “You can’t win the Calder Cup in October,” (or something like that) – meaning, you want to be playing your best hockey down the stretch in April. However, I’ve always felt - and Iowa’s first five seasons are a testament to this – you can certainly make your playoff aspirations feel like an uphill battle when you don’t start off strong. Thus, it’s refreshing to see the team get off to a start which has them in a playoff position after seven contests, rather than the type of start where they’re looking up at the bulk of the Central Division.
HOME SWEET HOME
I mentioned this in an earlier blog, but the franchise record for home-ice wins in a single season is 18, set last season.
This year’s club is a perfect 5-0-0-0 at home, with its next affair in front of the Central Iowa faithful coming Sunday, Nov. 4 vs. Rockford. Iowa’s five wins at home lead the entire 31-team AHL. As noted above, the five consecutive wins on home ice are also a franchise record.
But here comes the part where you might want to sit down. These are the Iowa Wild home win TOTALS from 2013-2016:
- 2013-2014 season: 11
- 2014-2015 season: 10
- 2015-2016 season: 11
Mind blown, right?!
I mean, first off, and I’ll be quite honest here, those numbers are rather embarrassing. Just last season alone, 10 teams had 21 or more home-ice victories. Furthermore, Lehigh Valley posted 27 wins at home, which led the AHL.
Here are your 2018-2019 Iowa Wild with five home-ice wins at the end of October. If you’re curious, the league record for most wins at home in one season is a whopping 34, accomplished by the 2009-2010 Hershey Bears. At that time, the AHL was still on an 80-game schedule, which meant the Bears won 34 of their 40 home games. They’d eventually go on to win the Calder Cup, defeating the Texas Stars.
Ironically enough, the Stars won Games 1 and 2 of that series in Hershey. Go figure.
HAVE A DAY, JORDAN GREENWAY
Boy, Jordan Greenway is good at ice hockey.
In his first weekend in the AHL, Greenway notched four points (3g, 1a) in two games, including his first professional hat trick in Saturday’s 6-1 win against Colorado.
Saturday night was as dominating a performance as you will see. The line of Greenway, Cal O’Reilly and Luke Kunin combined for nine points (4g, 5a) as the Wild sent the Eagles limping back to Colorado. Greenway set the tone early, scoring just 85 seconds in as he took a pass from O’Reilly, which he was able to get from his skate blade to his stick with ease before blistering a shot top shelf.
Keep in mind, Greenway ended up playing three games in three days.
Thursday, he skated for Minnesota in the team’s 4-1 home-ice win against the Los Angeles Kings.
Friday, he flew to Des Moines, landing at about 3:00 p.m. before suiting up four hours later for his AHL debut.
Saturday, he posted a hat trick. Now he’s in Vancouver after re-joining the big club.
His size is imposing, his shot is lethal and he skates well for being such a large human. This weekend, Iowa Wild fans finally got an in-person glimpse of what Minnesota Wild fans have been so anxious to see since the organization drafted him in the second round in 2015.
BRUTAL STRETCH AHEAD
If you look at the Iowa Wild game schedule so far, it’s been fairly light.
- Two games on opening weekend, with a day off in between
- One game the following weekend (Oct. 12)
- Two games in Texas on Oct. 19 and 20
- Two games at home vs. Colorado this past weekend
No mid-week games, no brutal travel, etc. For the most part, this team has been able to play, then recover/practice before their next test came calling.
That changes quickly this weekend. Overall, the month of November shapes up to be a big test, with 14 games, including two 10:30 a.m. face-offs (school day games).
First up in November, a three-in-three. The Wild is in Grand Rapids on Friday (which means a seven-hour bus ride on Thursday), in Rockford on Saturday (roughly four hours from Grand Rapids) and then home to Rockford on Sunday (four-hour bus ride back to Des Moines) with the puck drop scheduled for 5:00 p.m.
So starting Thursday morning and wrapping up early Sunday night, the Wild will endure 15-plus hours in bus travel plus 180 minutes of ice hockey (if not more) in three different cities.
No doubt, the team’s depth and perseverance will be tested. Expect to see both goaltenders get some action and barring injuries, you’ll probably see some “fresh blood” injected into the various lineups during the weekend.
In case you were wondering, forwards Dmitry Sokolov and Mitch McLain, as well as defensemen Carson Soucy and Gustav Bouramman, were all healthy scratches during the weekend. Plus, veteran winger Landon Ferraro is close to returning from injury.
Hopefully. the Wild can get their first road win of the season this weekend – even three of a possible six points would be a success, given the schedule/travel.
-Wild Joe Radio