Iowa Edges out Manitoba 4-3 Saturday
DES MOINES, IOWA - Iowa Wild (26-14-3-3; 58 pts.) earned a dramatic 4-3 victory against the Manitoba Moose (20-26-0-0; 40 pts.) Saturday evening in the final contest before the AHL All-Star Classic.
Iowa needed less than nine minutes to get on the board as forward Sam Anas scored at 8:58 to give the home side a 1-0 lead. With the Wild on the power play, Anas received a pass from defenseman Brennan Menell and skated to the right half-boards before taking a shot on net. The puck then deflected off the stick of a Manitoba defender and past goaltender Eric Comrie (31 saves) for the score.
At the end of the first period, Iowa led 1-0 while Manitoba had a 13-12 shot lead.
The Wild took a 2-0 lead as forward Gerry Mayhew netted his 30th goal of the season at 10:01 in the second period. After catching a pass from forward Nico Sturm at the blueline, Mayhew carved to the front of the net and chipped the puck over Comrie's shoulder and bar down for the tally. With his goal, Mayhew became the first 30-goal scorer in Iowa Wild history. Defenseman Matt Register earned the secondary assist on the play.
Forward Will Bitten extended Iowa's lead to 3-0 as he scored his eighth of the season at 16:38 in the middle frame. Defenseman Louie Belpedio ripped a slap shot on net that was saved by Comrie and Bitten picked up the rebound. He turned and from his backhand lofted the puck into the top right corner of the net for the power-play tally. Forward JT Brown was credited with the other assist on the play.
Heading into the third period, Iowa led 3-0 and had a 30-21 shot advantage.
Manitoba ended the shutout bid of goaltender Mat Robson (33 saves) at 11:54 in the third period as forward JC Lipon scored his ninth of the season. The Moose pulled Comrie in favor of the extra skater and with the man advantage, forward Kristian Vesalainen threaded a pass to Lipon on the back post and he beat Robson past his blocker to make it a 3-1 contest.
At 17:29 in the final frame, Manitoba once again had the extra skater and forward Kyle Rau chipped a puck out of the zone. It rolled on edge the length of the ice and into the net for his 11th of the year, coming unassisted, to give the Wild a 4-1 lead.
Manitoba once again pulled the netminder and at 18:30, Vesalainen attempted to spark a comeback with his 10th of the season. On the power play, Vesalainen caught a pass from defenseman Andrei Chibisov at the top of the right circle and wristed a shot over Robson's glove to bring the score to 4-2.
Just 36 seconds later the Moose cut the Wild's lead to 4-3. Defenseman CJ Suess took a slap shot that careened off the end boards and into the slot, where forward Skyler McKenzie snapped home the rebound for his ninth of the campaign.
Iowa held on for the final 54 seconds to skate away with the 4-3 victory. Final shot totals were 36-35 in favor of Manitoba. Iowa went 2-for-6 on the power play and 3-for-4 on the penalty kill.
With the victory, Iowa heads into the AHL All-Star Classic with a 26-14-3-3 record. The team's 26 wins and 58 points are the most in team history at the All-Star break. Iowa is also currently on a five-game point streak, tied for the longest active streak in the AHL.
Anas, Mayhew and Menell will represent the Wild at the 2020 AHL All-Star Classic, presented by Ontario International Airport. The Skills Competition will begin at 7:00 p.m. CT Sunday and the All-Star Classic is scheduled for Monday at 9:00 p.m. CT. Both can be viewed on NHL Network and AHLTV.
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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