Iowa Comes from Behind in Third Straight Game for 5-4 Victory
DES MOINES, IOWA - Iowa Wild (3-0-0-0; 6 pts.) overcame four separate one-goal deficits to defeat the Texas Stars (0-2-0-1; 1pt) by a score of 5-4 in the shootout Friday night.
For the third consecutive game, the Wild allowed the first goal of the contest as Texas got on the board at 12:00 in the first period. On a 5-on-3 power-play, defenseman Ben Gleason took a shot from the point. Goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen (26 saves) made the stop, but forward Michael Mersch picked up the rebound and knocked it home for his first of the season. Forward Tanner Kero picked up his second assist of the season on the play.
At the end of the first period, Iowa trailed 1-0 and shots were tied 8-8. The two teams then exploded for six goals in the second period, three for each side.
Iowa tied the game at 1-1 when forward Will Bitten scored his second goal of the season. A turnover in the right corner found Bitten and he wristed a shot over the glove of goaltender Jake Oettinger (34 saves) for the unassisted tally at 3:49 in the second period.
Texas forward Denis Gurianov, playing in his first game of the season, gave the visitors a 2-1 lead just 22 seconds later. After a blocked shot from defenseman Gavin Bayruether, Gurianov redirected a pass from defenseman Emil Djuse past Kahkonen for his first tally of the season.
The Wild responded as forward Nico Sturm notched his first professional goal at 7:12 in the middle frame. On the power-play, forward JT Brown won a draw and then threaded a pass to Sturm at the blueline. He skated to the top of the left circle and lasered the puck over Oettinger's glove to tie the game at 2-2.
Gurianov once again gave the Stars a lead, scoring his second of the period at 9:53 in the frame. Forward Jason Robertson sent a behind-the-back pass to Gurianov at the right faceoff dot and he one-timed a shot into the back of the net for the score.
Iowa knotted the game at 3-3 at 12:21 in the second period as forward Mike Liambas netted his first of the season. Forward Mitch McLain drove to the net and threw the puck at Oettinger, but it was blocked by a Stars defender. Forward Brandon Duhaime then chipped the rebound off Liambas and into the net for the score.
At 15:06, Gurianov completed his second period hat trick, scoring his third of the stanza to give the Stars a 4-3 lead. While on a 2-on-1, Gurianov took a shot that was saved by Kahkonen, but he picked up this own rebound and put it home off his backhand for his second career hat trick.
After a flurry of goals, Iowa trailed 4-3 but led in shots 24-18 heading into the third period.
In the waning minutes of the contest, Iowa pulled Kahkonen for a 6-on-5 man advantage. With less than a minute remaining, forward Sam Anas took a shot that was blocked in front of Oettinger. Forward Gerry Mayhew picked up the rebound on his backhand and tucked it past Oettinger's outstretched pad for his third of the season, tying the game at 4-4. Forward Kyle Rau also earned an assist on the play.
In overtime, neither team found the back of the net, so the game went to the shootout.
In the shootout, Anas shot first and beat Oettinger and Texas countered with Gurianov, who also scored. In the second round, Mayhew once again solved Oettinger while Kero was stopped by Kahkonen. Rau missed Iowa's third attempt and with the game on the line, Kahkonen stoned Robertson, clinching the win for the Wild.
In the end, Iowa defeated Texas 5-4 in the shootout and outshot the Stars 39-30. The Wild went 1-for-6 on the power play and 3-for-4 on the penalty kill.
Iowa is now 3-0-0-0 for just the second time in team history and with the victory, Iowa has come from behind to win in every game this season. Mayhew's five points (3g, 2a) are tied with San Antonio's Nathan Walker for the league lead.
The Wild will close out its four-game home stand Saturday evening with the second of a back-to-back against the Texas Stars. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 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.
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