Iowa Wild Falls to Rockford IceHogs 6-3
Zach Parise makes Iowa Wild debut in the loss
DES MOINES, IOWA - Iowa Wild (14-10-6-2; 36 pts.) fell to Rockford IceHogs (18-11-1-1; 38 pts.) 6-3 Thursday night in front of 7,410 fans at Wells Fargo Arena in the first game of a home-and-home series between the teams.
Forward Zach Parise, a veteran of more than 800 career NHL games, made his Iowa Wild debut in the game, as Minnesota sent him to the AHL for a conditioning stint earlier in the day . Parise, who underwent back surgery in late October, had yet to appear in a game at any level this season . On his second shift of the night, Parise set up winger Luke Kunin for the Wild's first goal . Kunin, alone in the slot, rifled a shot past Collin Delia (15 saves), beating him blocker side. Parise's assist was his first point with Iowa and his first in the AHL since the 2004-05 season when he was with the Albany River Rats.
Kunin's goal was part of an eventful first period, which saw the two teams combine for five goals. Rockford forward Alexandre Fortin opened the scoring just 3:02 into the period when he slipped a puck past Wild goaltender Steve Michalek (21 saves). Kunin's answer just 12 seconds later tied the game at 1, but Rockford winger Matthew Highmore put the visitors back in front at 8:47 when he scored off a Michalek rebound, driving to the net and putting the shot over the goaltender's glove.
Forward Justin Kloos scored his ninth goal of the season to draw the Wild even again at 11:30 in the first period. Kloos, wide open in the middle of the ice, caught a pass from winger Sam Anas and cleanly beat D e lia glove side for the power-play tally. With the assist, Anas extended his franchise- record point streak to 10 games, while Kloos notched his eighth point in seven games (3g, 5a).
Center Pat Cannone gave the Wild a 3-2 lead when he wove through three Rockford defenders and found twine with a wrist shot at 14:10 in the first period. Cannone's tally was his 100 th career AHL goal, accomplishing the milestone in 422 games.
When the horn sounded, 12 players had registered a point between the two teams . Rockford edged Iowa in shots 9-8 during the first .
There was no further scoring until Rockford tied the game when forward Tyler Sikura charged in on the left - wing side and beat Michalek with a wrist shot at 16:59 of the frame . Just 2:30 later, Highmore recorded his second goal of the game when a shot from forward Tomas Jurco bounced off his body and past Michalek . Highmore's goal came on the power play with just more than 30 seconds left in the second stanza .
Rockford's William Pelletier made it 5-3 just 2:08 into the third period, when a puck dumped in by defenseman Viktor Svedberg caromed off the end boards in the corner and right out in front t o Pelletier. Michalek tried to get back and got his blocker on the shot, but the puck bounced into the back of the net.
Highmore recorded his second hat trick of his rookie season when he sco red an empty net goal at 19:17 of the third.
Rockford outshot Iowa 27-18 when the final whistle sounded and the Wild are now 3-3-1-0 against the IceHogs during the 2017-18 season. The two teams will be right back at it again Friday in Rockford, with puck drop at 7:00 p.m.
The Iowa Wild 2017-18 season is presented by Mercy 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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