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With the help of an unlikely name, Iowa takes down Cleveland in a shutout, 3-0

In just their second team shutout of the season, the Wild (14-9-6, 34 pts) move into sole possession of 2nd in the Central after a win over the Monsters (8-11-5, 21 pts)

Fresh off of signing a PTO, C.J. Motte (37) took all that Cleveland could throw at him, earning his first career AHL shutout
Cleveland Monsters/AHL

I was not expecting this one. With Steve Michalek in St. Paul backing up Alex Stalock due to the absence of Devan Dubnyk, Iowa was going to have to ride Niklas Svedberg for the next few games. Then, Sveds went down with a lower-body injury after his win, Adam Vay got blown out, and Derek Lalonde looked to be out of options.

The solution?

Sign former Ferris State Bulldog netminder, C.J. Motte (2-1-1; 1.73 GAA/.944 SV%), to a professional try out and roll the dice. The rolls paid, and Motte earned his first career AHL shutout with 34 saves in just his tenth start in the league in four professional seasons.

He also got some help from some guys who have been hitting a hot streak as of late.

Late Tallies

One such name has been a familiar one the last couple of weeks, whose performances have propelled him to becoming Iowa’s second leading scorer and joining the twenty point club; Sam Anas.

Like all three Iowa goals of the night, the quick-handed winger from Quinnipiac struck first for the road team with under five minutes to play in the first period (unassisted; 15:10)

All by himself and getting mugged by Cleveland’s Calvin Thürkauf, Anas put away his sixth goal of his current seven game point streak that has included three multi-point performances and ten points overall (6G/4A).

It wasn’t the only goal in the last five minutes of the period, as Brennan Menell returned to the score sheet after a five game absence, lighting the lamp for the first time since Oct. 28th with this power play goal (Kunin, Malone; PP - 19:45):

It’s not where you’d expect a blueliner to score on the power play, but the Woodbury, Minn., native got into the dirty area around Matīss Kivlenieks’ (3-6-0; 3.07 GAA/.889 SV%) net to earn his eleventh point of his rookie season.

Three quarters of the second period went by with a couple of penalties, but no goals given up by C.J. Motte. Maybe it was the adrenaline of having to dress so quickly, but he was making some great saves alone the way. Iowa’s third goal of the night came from another Twin Cities suburbanite, Zach Palmquist (Grant, Beck; 15:11):

With all 5’11”, 190 lbs of Colton Beck screening Kivlenieks, the South St. Paul native was able to unleash a blast to earn his fifth point in his last three games (2G/3A) and his third goal of the season. He started the season getting scratched, but he’s been putting things together and working his way up the pairings.

Wrapped up with a nice bow

The great part about writing this one is that I don’t even have to mention any names from the Cleveland Monsters (Columbus Blue Jackets). The Iowa offense continued to perform, and the new addition of C.J. Motte from the Quad Cities paid off greatly.

Iowa still has one more game to play in Cleveland on Wednesday night before coming home for one last game against Grand Rapids on Friday before the Christmas Break. If Iowa can put together wins with such a hole in net, you can only imagine what the Central Division is in for when Svedberg and Michalek are back to being the choices in net in Des Moines.