Iowa's Comeback Falls Short in 5-4 Defeat to Tucson
DES MOINES, IOWA - Iowa Wild (34-25-7-5; 80 pts.) potted three third-period goals but ultimately fell short of the comeback as the team lost to the Tucson Roadrunners (32-23-5-3; 72 pts.) by a score of 5-4 Tuesday night.
Just 44 seconds into the contest, Tucson took a 1-0 lead off a goal from forward Hudson Fasching. On the forecheck, Fasching created a turnover behind the Wild net and then curled in front for a wraparound, beating goaltender Andrew Hammond (25 saves). The unassisted goal was his 16th tally of the year.
At 6:01 in the first period, Wild forward Will Bitten put the home side on the board. Forward Mitch McLain gave the puck to defenseman Nate Prosser on the half-wall, who then threaded the puck through the Roadrunners defense to Bitten on the far post. Bitten one-timed the pass, his shot going off of the glove of goaltender Adin Hill (23 saves) and into the back of the net to tie the game at 1-1.
At the end of the first period, the score was tied 1-1 with Tucson owning a 9-6 shot advantage.
Tucson scored four consecutive goals in the second period to turn the 1-1 tie into a 5-1 lead for the visitors. Forward Matteo Gennaro started the run with his seventh of the season at 2:45 in the second period, waiting out Hammond before roofing a backhanded shot. Then forward Trevor Cheek lasered a puck over Hammond's glove from the top of the left circle for his sixth of the season to make it a 3-1 game at 11:19.
After coincidentals to Iowa defenseman Matt Bartkowski and Tucson forward Brayden Burke, Roadrunner forward Michal Bunting potted two goals 1:50, pushing the lead to 5-1. Bunting's goals capped off a span of three goals in just less than five minutes for the Roadrunners.
At the end of the second period, Tucson led 5-1 and outshot the Wild 20-15.
Bartkowski stopped Tucson's goal streak with his fourth of the season, coming 24 seconds into the third period. Forward Mason Shaw kicked the puck out top from down low, where Bartkowski walked to the top of the circles and wristed a shot off the inside of the right post and into the net. Forward Kyle Rau recorded the secondary assist on the tally.
At 3:06 in the third period, forward Sam Anas took a shot from the top of the right faceoff dot. His shot hit Rau and floated over Hill's left shoulder, giving Rau 27 goals on the season. His 27 tallies set a new franchise record for goals in a single season and it was also his league-leading 18th power-play goal. Defenseman Brennan Menell registered his 40th assist on the year on the play.
Bitten cut Tucson's lead to 5-4 at 9:16 in the third period for Iowa's third consecutive goal of the period. Forward Cal O'Reilly dropped the puck for forward Gerry Mayhew in the slot and he quickly snapped a shot on net. Bitten reached out with his stick and tipped the shot up and over Hill's glove for his second of the game.
Iowa pulled Hammond and peppered Hill with a flurry of shots as the clock wound down, but Tucson skated away with the 5-4 victory. The Roadrunners outshot the Wild 30-27 in the contest.
The Wild finished the game 1-for-3 on the power play and 1-for-1 on the penalty kill. Iowa's losing streak extended to six games with the defeat.
Iowa and Tucson close out the season series with a rubber match Wednesday 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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