Iowa Wild Clinches First Playoff Berth in Franchise History
DES MOINES, IOWA - The Iowa Wild (37-26-8-5; 87 pts.) clinched its first playoff berth in franchise history Saturday night, shutting out the Rockford IceHogs (35-30-4-6; 80 pts.) by a score of 3-0.
Iowa opened up the scoring at 11:20 in the first period thanks to the eighth goal of the season from forward Mason Shaw. Forward Matt Read drove to the net from the left side of the ice and his shot was saved by goaltender Anton Forsberg (27 saves). Defenseman Nate Prosser then took a shot and the rebound popped up into the air. Shaw knocked the puck out of mid-air and into the back of the net to give the home team a 1-0 lead.
At the end of the first period, Iowa led 1-0 while shots were tied 11-11.
Forward Gerry Mayhew doubled Iowa's lead with his tally at 3:34 in the second period. Mayhew caught a pass from defenseman Carson Soucy and rifled the puck on net from the top of the left circle. His shot beat Forsberg for his team-leading 27th tally of the season, setting a franchise record for goals in a single campaign. Forward Cal O'Reilly notched the secondary assist on the play, extending his record for points in a single campaign to 67.
Heading into the third period, Iowa led 2-0 and led in shots 22-20.
Forward Will Bitten pushed Iowa's lead to 3-0 with his 13th tally of the season at 2:20 in the final frame. Bitten received an outlet pass from Prosser and had a straight line to Forsberg. Bitten deked and lifted the puck over Forsberg's glove, icing the game for the Wild in the process. Defenseman Louie Belpedio recorded the secondary helper on the play.
When the final buzzer sounded, the Wild had earned its first playoff berth in franchise history. Goaltender Andrew Hammond (25 saves) logged his third shutout of the season and the ninth for the Wild this year. The victory also Hammond's third consecutive win.
The Wild's 3-0 triumph also set a record for victories in a single season by the franchise at 37 and extended the team's record for points in a single year to 87. Iowa finished the game 0-for-4 on the power play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill while outshooting the IceHogs 30-25.
Heading into Sunday, Iowa currently sits in second place in the Central Division. Final playoff schedules will be announced Sunday upon the completion of the regular season.
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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