WILD STUN ICEHOGS IN 3-2 WIN ON OPENING NIGHTOct 4, 2019
-Forward JT Brown nets game-winning tally with 15 seconds remaining-
Battling back from two one-goal deficits, Iowa Wild (1-0-0-0; 2 pts.) stunned the Rockford IceHogs (0-1-0-0; 0 pts.) by a score of 3-2 Friday night, scoring the game-winning goal in the waning seconds of the third period.
Tied 2-2 and with just 15 seconds left on the clock, forward Nico Sturm took a shot from the top of the right circle. Screening Rockford goaltender Kevin Lankinen (30 saves), forward JT Brown managed to deflect the puck with his chest into the back of the net, giving the Wild a 3-2 lead with just seconds remaining. His goal came on the power play and after the remaining time ticked away, the Wild earned its second consecutive victory on Opening Night.
The contest started with a scoreless first period, but Iowa finished the first 20 minutes ahead in shots, 8-6.
The IceHogs got on the board first at 3:28 in the second period. With Iowa on the power play, Rockford’s MacKenzie Entwistle took a shot from the bottom of the left circle that was redirected off the stick of a Wild defender. At the far post, forward Matthew Highmore whacked the loose puck across the goal line for the shorthanded tally. Defenseman Chad Krys recorded the secondary assist.
Heading into the third period, Iowa trailed 1-0 and Rockford led in shots 19-17.
Iowa tied the game at 1-1 as forward Gabriel Dumont netted his first goal in a Wild sweater. Dumont skated down the left side of the ice before battling a Rockford defender. He turned and tossed a puck off his backhand on net and his shot snuck between Lankinen and the post for the score. His unassisted goal came 24 seconds into the third period.
Less than a minute later, Rockford regained the lead, making it a 2-1 game. Forward Philipp Kurashev sent a pass into the slot for forward Dylan Sikura, who rifled a puck under the glove of goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen (24 saves) for his first score of the season.
Wild forward Gerry Mayhew answered again for Iowa, notching his 100th AHL point and 50th AHL goal with a tally at 2:30 in the final frame. After a faceoff win, defenseman Louie Belpedio took a slap shot from the point that was saved by Lankinen. Mayhew picked up the rebound and tucked it home on his backhand for the score, knotting the game at 2-2. Defenseman Keaton Thompson also earned the first point of his Iowa Wild career with the secondary assist.
Thanks to Brown’s goal, the Wild skated away with the victory in the final seconds of the third period. Final shot totals were 33-26 in favor of Iowa. Iowa went 1-for-5 on the power play and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill.
The Wild continues its opening weekend with Kid’s Opening Day Sunday afternoon against the Milwaukee Admirals. Puck drop is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.
The Iowa Wild 2019-20 regular 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.