Iowa Drops 4-3 Contest to Stockton Heat
STOCKTON, CALIF. - Iowa Wild (34-21-7-5; 80 pts.) suffered a heartbreaking loss as the Stockton Heat (27-28-4-2; 60 pts) scored the game-winner with 53 seconds left to earn a 4-3 victory Sunday evening.
Stockton took a 1-0 lead as forward John McCarron recorded his first professional goal. Forward Ryan Lomberg took a shot from the left faceoff circle that was saved by goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen (41 saves). McCarron picked up the rebound and beat Kahkonen past his left pad at 2:37 in the first period.
Iowa responded as forward Will Bitten potted his 10th of the season, becoming the fourth Wild rookie to hit the 10-goal mark. Forward Cal O'Reilly behind around the net before feeding forward Gerry Mayhew in front of goaltender Jon Gillies (24 saves). Mayhew sent a back-door pass to Bitten, who buried the puck into the yawning goal mouth at 4:20 in the opening frame.
Less than two minutes later, forward Dmitry Sokolov gave the Wild a 2-1 lead. After a faceoff win, Sokolov one-timed a pass from forward Sam Anas at the top of the left circle and beat Gillies over his glove for his 15th of the season. Defenseman Carson Soucy also received an assist on the play.
Stockton then tied it up at 12:22 in the first period as McCarron notched his second goal of the stanza. McCarron backhanded a shot from the bottom of the right circle that ricocheted off a Wild player and past Kahkonen for the tally. Defenseman Adam Ollas Mattsson earned his 12th helper of the season and forward Mason Morelli recorded his first career professional assist on the play.
At the end of the first period, the score was tied 2-2 while the Heat had a 15-5 shot advantage.
Iowa's Kyle Rau retook the lead for the visitors as he logged his 25th goal of the season at the 2:00 mark in the second period. The Wild forced a turnover in the offensive zone, resulting in Mayhew getting the puck in the high slot. He shuttled the puck up to Rau, who cut in front of Gillies and flipped it top shelf off his backhand for the score. Mayhew's assist was his fourth in two games against the Heat and he now has eight points (2g, 6a) in his last five contests.
Through 40 minutes of play, Iowa led 3-2 while Stockton led in shots 30-17.
The Heat evened the game at 3-3 at 5:36 in the third period as defenseman Rob Hamilton netted his seventh of the season. Hamilton took a slap shot from the point that bounced off a Wild defender and squeaked through Kahkonen's five-hole.
With 53 seconds remaining in regulation, forward Curtis Lazar scored the game-winner to give Stockton the 4-3 victory. Forward Glenn Gawdin took a shot that was blocked in front, but forward Buddy Robinson sent the puck to Lazar at the left faceoff dot. Lazar wristed a shot over Kahkonen's blocker for the tally.
Stockton finished the game outshooting Iowa 45-27. Iowa went 0-for-2 on the power play and 1-for-1 on the penalty kill.
Iowa returns to Wells Fargo Arena for a five-game homestand, starting with a contest against the Grand Rapids Griffins on Tuesday evening. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
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.
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