WILD WIRE #5 - HOME SWEET HOMENov 23, 2019
Been a while since I blogged, so my apologies. Part of my slacking was because I left the Iowa Wild for a bit to join the Minnesota Wild during their recent West Coast road trip, which spanned 10 days. During that stretch, I got to handle the radio play-by-play duties for games in Anaheim, San Jose, Glendale and Los Angeles.
It was an unreal experience. Having spent 15-plus seasons broadcasting hockey games between the ECHL and AHL, it was very rewarding to finally get a chance to call an NHL game. It was a goal of mine and had been for a long time. Any time anyone asked me “what I wanted to do” career-wise, I’d always tell them I wanted to call NHL games, so I’m very grateful to the Minnesota Wild for giving me a chance. And although it was a small sample size, it’s something I’ll never forget.
And thank you to all those who reached out on Twitter, etc. The amount of support I received was almost overwhelming.
WILD ONE ON TUESDAY
Outside of the result, Tuesday night’s home game against the Milwaukee Admirals had everything you’d want in a hockey game.
Eleven combined goals, plenty of physical play, controversial moments, and an exciting finish. On four separate occasions, either Iowa or Milwaukee erased a deficit and pulled even on the scoreboard.
Yes, at the end of the night, the Admirals claimed their eighth straight win and stayed in 1st place in the Central Division. But the Wild earned a standings point in the shootout loss and proved they very much belong with the team that’s currently leading the Western Conference.
Heading into Tuesday night, the Wild had won six straight at home against the Admirals. In the Calder Cup Playoffs last spring, they outscored Milwaukee 13-1 (combined) in the Game 1 & 2 routs.
So, in a way, the Admirals exorcised some demons by emerging from Wells Fargo Arena with two standings points. The last time they enjoyed that prior to Tuesday was Nov. 28, 2017, nearly two years to the date.
From an Iowa perspective, you have to love the club’s third-period effort. Down 3-2 against a red-hot team, they took over early in the final stanza, setting a physical tone by buzzing around with a tenacious forecheck.
Due to an injury to Wild winger Kyle Rau (who was hit high – and hard – earlier in the game by Admirals defenseman Josh Healey), Iowa had to juggle its line combinations in the third period. The coaching staff assembled a veteran-laden line of J.T. Brown, Gabriel Dumont and Cody McLeod and that line instantly took over the game. Iowa tallied three goals in just less than four minutes, with that line totaling five points on the equalizing and (at the time) go-ahead goal.
The Wild flipped the script on a 3-2 game, bursting ahead by a 5-3 score until the final couple of minutes when Milwaukee answered with two, extra attacker goals.
The game, as a whole, was an emotional rollercoaster for both sides. And sometimes, you just come out on the wrong end of those seesaw-type games.
Iowa hosts Bakersfield this weekend, starting with Hockey Fights Cancer Night on Saturday. A night like this has the potential to be a really special evening. There are plenty of special moments planned throughout the game, as the Wild organization does its part to raise money for cancer research. Don’t forget the team will don specialty jerseys during warmups, which will be auctioned off on the concourse during the game.
The Wild and Condors duel again on Sunday, with a 3:00 p.m. puck drop.
Bakersfield enters the weekend set with 16 points through 16 games. The last time these clubs met was March 1 of last season, when the Wild snapped the Condors franchise-record,17-game winning streak, topping them 1-0 in Bakersfield.
Dmitry Sokolov had the only goal that night and Wild goaltender Andrew Hammond made 30 saves in the shutout victory.
On Monday the Wild hit the road again, traveling to Texas and Milwaukee, where the team will play five games over 10 days.
- Wild Joe Radio