With hockey being a three period sport, there is always time to get off the ice after the horn, come back with a tabula rasa, and make adjustments to either make amends or keep the pace. Unfortunately for the Wild, their first period was nixed by a lackluster second, needing the third to right the ship. Iowa was able to get off to a fast start and light the lamp early, but the Rockford IceHogs (Chicago Blackhawks) get the two points after a 2-1, overtime win in Des Moines.
Niklas Svedberg (2-4-1; 2.83 GAA/.903 SV%) made his seventh consecutive start for the Iowa Wild tonight, stopping 29 of 31 shots from the IceHogs in the loss. Even with a lot of defensive zone turnovers, the Sollentuna, Swe., native was able to make some key saves on a night where the offense struggled to put shots together. Jean-François Bérubé (5-0-0; 1.38 GAA/.950 SV%) kept his undefeated streak intact, stopping all but one of Iowa’s 18 shots.
After a slow start in Rockford a week and a half ago, Iowa needed to get off to a hot one to send a message to a young IceHogs team. Colton Beck continued his goal scoring streak, netting the first of the game on the first team shot from the Langley, B.C., native (Mitchell, Cannone; 1:10). The below the net play from the Wild continues to show promise, as Zack Mitchell made his pass from the trapezoid for Beck in the left circle to go far post.
With the lamp lit, Beck’s fifth goal in five straight contests marked a new Iowa Wild record previously held by short-time member, Teemu Pulkkinen, set last season. Apart from Beck’s snipe, it was all quiet as the first period ended 1-0 with the shots-on-goal knotted up at eight apiece.
The second period was less disciplined with both squads committing three penalties a side. Where Iowa’s penalty kill continued their success, the power play saw a similar sight from their first two games of the season. Iowa struggled to generate any momentum on of the offensive side of the puck.
Rockford got a golden opportunity of an expired power play for the Wild. As Matt Iacopelli made his way out of the box, he joined Vinnie Hinostroza and Luke Johnson as rookie Brennan Menell saw his worst nightmare: a 3-on-1 defensive battle. Ryan Malone did a good job getting into the play, but with Menell already taking away the pass through the slot, nobody was looking at trailing Iacopelli.
With Svedberg committing to his right post, the Brownstown, Mich., native was able to snipe the easy glove-side goal, popping the water bottle to add insult to injury (Johnson, Hinostroza; 13:32).
There were a lot of turnovers for made by Iowa, and a few good looks turned into passes as the second frame ended 1-1 with Rockford dominating the shots-on-goal game, 10-2.
After being dominated in shots in the second period, Iowa came out aggressively in the third, but Rockford was able to keep the pace after five minutes. Iowa got a power play opportunity 6:19 into the third, but the Wild were only able to get off one shot attempt with the man advantage. Unfortunately, Rockford got a look of their on while playing a man down.
Pat Cannone committed his third penalty and second slash of the night, but was bailed out by the Wild penalty kill that moved improved to 86.8% after snuffing out all five Rockford power plays. The Iowa power play got their best look of the night with a seemingly wide open net for Cal O’Reilly, but his shot sailed over the crossbar. Despite what looked like a great final minute, we headed towards free hockey with the game knotted up at 1-1.
It was the Wild’s first venture into free hockey this season, but unfortunately it didn’t go their way. Rockford’s Tomáš Jurčo received a pass, looped back towards his own blue line, picked his head up and saw a lot of open ice with room to work.
The veteran of 172 NHL games was able to split Ryan Murphy and Justin Kloos before getting a quick release, far-side from the left dot over Svedberg’s glove for the win.
Number of the night: 5. Colton Beck continued his point streak tonight, scoring his fifth goal in as many games, beating out the aforementioned Pulkkinen record. When asked if there was a change in his daily routine, he was candid, saying, “I’m not too superstitious, I just come in and compete every night.” Beck started the season as a bottom six center for Lalonde, but his recent success, along with the NHL call-ups, has seen his role change for Iowa.
He isn’t fazed by all the movement, and even with the individual success, he remains a team player:
“I don’t look too much into whatever line I’m [on]. I’m going to come to the rink and be the same Colton Beck no matter what line I’m on or what position I’m playing. My job is to go out there and help this team win, and if that’s the wing? Great. If that’s center? Great.”
After the game, Lalonde did profess some frustration regarding the team’s second period, one where they were out shot 10-2 and gave up their third “out-of-the-box” goal of the season. But Newsy was happy with the first and third periods, and the play of his guys on short rest. Kloos was in Des Moines around 4:00 am and on the ice for the morning skate. Fourth line addition, Kyle Bonis, only inked his PTO this morning.
Playing with another former Ferris State Bulldog, Gerald Mayhew, Lalonde thought Bonis played with an edge that the head coach wanted the others on the bench to take note of. When asked about the “Bulldog Line”:
“They trusted the process of trying to get it behind our opponent. And when they did, success happened. They went below the goal line, got [the puck], and had some Grade-As out front. I just wish the rest of our team bought into that process.”
Although critical tonight, Lalonde is still hopeful for a bounce-back and excited about the depth of this roster going forward. As the team heads to Tucson for two games against the Roadrunners (Arizona Coyotes) to close out the October schedule, look for a hungry team below the net; the same style that got them the goal tonight.
After a few more practices, it’s wheels up at the end of the week for the Wild’s first trip out west. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 MST at the Tucson Convention Center, Friday night.