Wild Sets Franchise Record for Home Wins with 4-3 Victory
DES MOINES, IOWA - Iowa Wild (28-16-6-4; 66 pts.) defeated the San Jose Barracuda (28-13-2-4; 62 pts.) by a score of 4-3 Thursday night, setting a new franchise record for home wins in a single season with 19. The win also extended the Wild's point streak to seven games.
The Wild opened the game with a 1-0 lead as forward Mitch McLain netted his seventh of the season at 11:12 in the first period. Forward Kyle Rau caught the puck out of mid-air in the neutral zone before curling inside the blueline to feed a pass to McLain. With a direct line to goaltender Antoine Bibeau (27 saves), McLain lasered a shot over his right shoulder for the tally. Forward Dmitry Sokolov recorded his 10th assist of the season on the play.
Just 16 seconds later, San Jose tied it up at 1-1 thanks to forward T.J. Hensick. Hensick forced a turnover in the slot and his shot beat goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen (31 saves) for his first of the season, which came unassisted.
At the end of the first period, the score was tied at 1-1, with the Wild owning a 14-13 shot advantage.
Iowa took a 2-1 lead at 9:42 in the second period as defenseman Michael Kapla scored his first goal in a Wild sweater. Forward Gerry Mayhew had the puck below the goal line when he fed Kapla at the top of the left circle. Kapla then one-timed the puck past Bibeau's blocker for his second of the season. Forward Cal O'Reilly registered his 31st assist of the season with the secondary helper.
Less than a minute later, San Jose responded with a goal of its own. Hensick took a shot that was stopped by Kahkonen, but forward Dylan Gambrell got two chances on the rebound before finally cashing in, tying the game at 2-2. Gambrell's tally was his 12th of the season and Hensick's helper was his first of the year.
One minute after Gambrell's goal, O'Reilly recorded his 13th multi-point game of the year with a shorthanded tally. O'Reilly and Rau engaged on a 2-on-1 and after receiving the pass, O'Reilly roofed the puck to give the home team a 3-2 lead. The score was the team's ninth shorthanded goal of the season, which is third-most in the AHL.
Once again, San Jose tied things up, evening the game at 3-3 just 61 seconds later while on the power play. Defenseman Nicholas DeSimone took a shot from the point that was deflected by forward John McCarthy past Kahkonen for the score. The assist extended DeSimone's career-best point streak to eight games.
After 40 minutes of play, the score was tied 3-3 and San Jose led in shots 27-19.
For the fourth time in the contest, the Wild went ahead as forward Matt Read scored his 14th goal of the season. While on the power play, Sokolov sent a cross-ice pass to Read at the back door, who buried his chance to give Iowa the 4-3 lead. Kapla recorded the secondary assist on the eventual game-winner.
When the final horn sounded, Iowa skated away with a 4-3 victory, moving the team's point streak to seven games and setting a new franchise record for home wins in the process. San Jose outshot the Wild 34-31, while Iowa went 1-for-3 on the power play and 2-for-3 on the penalty kill.
Kapla, O'Reilly, Sokolov and Rau all notched multi-point nights Thursday. Since being reassigned to Iowa, Rau has three points (1g, 2a) and has a three-game point streak. Kapla has seven points (1g, 6a) in eight games since joining the Wild organization.
The Wild and Barracuda rematch tomorrow night at Wells Fargo Arena with a 6:00 p.m. puck drop. Following the contest, Dropkick Murphys will perform a post-game concert.
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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