Nothing has been easy for the Iowa Wild this season. Every goal, every victory and every save has been a struggle. That’s why last Friday’s 6 to 0 victory over the Rochester Americans was so satisfying. One minute into the first period, Tyler Graovac scored the easiest goal of his career. He skated into the high slot, and a whipped a shot upstairs, beating the Amerks’ Nagle, a goalie who is on a PTO because injuries, trades, and call ups have depleted Rochester’s roster. Defenseman Joel Chouinard took tripping penalty eight minutes into the first, and the Iowa Wild’s league worst PK unit killed it, and Chouinard scored a breakaway goal as he left the penalty box.
Stu Bickel added to the Wild’s score in the second period after a nifty passing play by Keranen and Bulmer left the defenseman wide open. Brady Brassart added another one less than 30 seconds later when Veilleux sprung Brassart into the offensive zone. In the third period, Jared Knight scored while skating hard to the net when the puck trickled through Nagel’s glove hand. Finally, Chouinard scored again, his second of the night, on the power play, to make the score 6 to 0. With an assist on the power play goal, Zach Palmquist earned a point in his first AHL game. Iowa finally got a victory to end their 14 game home winless streak.
Last Tuesday, Iowa faced the Texas Stars, who are currently fifth in the Western Conference. On a dominant power play, the Stars’ Ritchie scored the first of the night off a small Curry rebound after Curry made several quick saves in succession. Texas added an even strength goal before Knight drew a power play with an aggressive skate to the net. A clumsy clearing attempt by goalie Jack Campbell earned Iowa a 5 on 3 power play, and Blum put a laser slapshot past Campbell.
Zack Mitchell got a breakaway early in the second, but Campbell made a great save. The Stars scored off a turnover a minutes later as Gemel Smith got a pass he couldn't miss. Brett Sutter scored off the offensive zone cycle halfway through the second to make the score 3 to 2. Veilleux tied the game, but the tie only lasted 18 seconds as Greg Rallo scored off a crazy rebound. Devin Shore added another Stars goal 5 minutes into the third. Knight gave the Wild another goal when Pavel Jenys fanned on a shot that went to Knight and the misdirection fooled the Stars’ netminder. An empty net goal by Travis Morin sealed the Stars’ victory, but it was still nice to see the Wild put four goals into their opponent's net.
With two goals and an assist, Jared Knight now has 3 goals and 3 assists in 10 games with Iowa, doubling his total from 36 games with the Providence Bruins. Tyler Graovac still leads the Iowa Wild scoring race with 45 points. Michael Keranen is second in scoring with 36 points.
Tonight, Iowa continues their homestand against the Rockford IceHogs, and on Friday they will finish the homestand when they face the Oklahoma City Barons. Iowa will also play the Chicago Wolves for a matinee game on Sunday. After this weekend’s games, Iowa will have 3 games remaining on their schedule.
Iowa Wild Links
- Jonathon Blum is the Iowa Wild’s IOA/Specialty Man of the Year for his active work in the Des Moines area. In particular, his work with the Wild About Reading program and Defending the Blue Line helped him become the recipient of this award.
- Tom Witosky wrote about the direction that the Iowa Wild are heading for next year after another disastrous season in 2014-15.
- After the 6 to 0 win against Rochester, first star of the game Joel Chouinard talked to the media about how good it felt to get a win at home.