Iowa Wins Its Fourth Straight Game, Edging Rockford 2-1 in Shootout
ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS - Iowa Wild (7-2-0-0; 14 pts.) goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen (29 saves) registered his first career AHL victory as the Wild picked up its fourth straight win, a 2-1 shootout decision over the Rockford IceHogs (5-3-1-2; 13 pts.) on Saturday night.
With the win, the Wild boasts the second-best points percentage in the AHL's Western Conference at .778.
For the second straight night on enemy ice, 65 minutes wasn't enough to decide a winner. For the second time this weekend, forwards Sam Anas and Gerry Fitzgerald provided shootout goals to help Iowa stay perfect in games that require more than three periods of hockey.
The visiting Wild took an early 1-0 lead on a long shot from defenseman Brennan Menell, which appeared to deflect off center Mitch McLain. The even-strength goal came just 1:51 into the contest, and it allowed Iowa to claim the game's first tally for the seventh time in nine tries this season.
That lead held up until late in the second period when IceHogs winger Anthony Louis one-timed a shot past a sprawled out Kahkonen for his fourth goal of the season. Forwards Henrik Samuelsson and Tyler Sikura collected the assists.
After two periods of play the game was tied 1-1 and the Wild led in shots, 23-16.
In the third period, the Wild pressed for the go-ahead goal, but IceHogs goaltender Collin Delia (41 saves) stopped all 18 Iowa shots, including several, acrobatic saves during back-to-back man advantage opportunities.
Rockford earned a power play in overtime, but the Wild penalty kill stood tall, which forced the shootout. After Kahkonen denied Victor Ejdsell with a left pad save, Anas improved to three-for-three this season and nine-for-14 in his shootout career, as he slipped a shot between the legs of Delia.
In the second round, Kahkonen stopped Louis, setting the stage for Fitzgerald. The Wild rookie center came through, scoring the shootout game-winner on back-to-back nights.
Both teams came up empty on the power play in the contest, and the final shots favored Iowa, 43-30.
The two teams battle again Sunday afternoon at 5 p.m. CT from Wells Fargo Arena.
The Iowa Wild 2018-19 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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