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The Des Moines Report: Wild, one of the hottest teams in the AHL.

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In this week’s episode of “The Des Moines Report”, it’s a jam packed one as the Iowa Wild played 5 games in 7 days going back to last Friday. Safe to say we will find out a lot about this team and where the season may go based off this stretch of games. Yes, I know it is early, but if the Wild could get ahead of the curve and keep their success going, it could go a long way to a good seed in the playoffs. Let’s go.

Game 8: @ Grand Rapids

The Wild began the 5 games in 7 days trip in Grand Rapids, MI as the Wild took on the Griffins. After their slow start to the game, getting out-shot 18-6 after the 1st period, the Wild used 2 early 3rd period goals to take the lead. That was until the Griffins scored midway through the period. The game was decided in a shoot-out. In the shoot-out, the Wild got goals from Sam Anas, and Gerry Fitzgerald while Andrew Hammond shut down the Griffins to get the extra point. The Wild were out-shot 36-23 but ‘The Hamburglar’ stood tall. The Wild went 1-for-3 on the power-play and successfully kill off all 4 power-plays for the Griffins. A 3-2 shoot-out victory moved the Wild to 6-2 on the season.

Game 9: @ Rockford

The Wild took a short 4 hour bus trip from Grand Rapids to Rockford, IL for game 2 of this 5 game trip. This game was also Cal O’Reilly’s 800th regular season game! Congrats Captain Cal!

Goals were hard to come by in this game as the Wild scored just 1:51 into the game as Mitch McLain found the back of the net. We had to wait until the end of the 2nd before another goal was scored. Rockford tied things up and forced a a 1-1 tie into the third. With no scoring in the 3rd, or overtime for the second night in a row, the Wild went to a second consecutive shoot-out. In the shoot-out, the Wild went 2-for-2 thanks to goals from Sam Anas and Gerry Fitzgerald. Kaapo Kahkonen stopped the two scorers for the Hogs, and finished with 29 saves versus 30 shots faced, picking up his 2nd career win. Both teams went 0-for-4 on the power-play, but once again the Wild came out on top, picking up the extra point. The Wild moved to 7-2 on the season after the win. Next stop. Home bound.

Game 10: vs Rockford

For the third game in as many nights it was a rematch of the Wild vs Rockford. However, this time, the Wild saw their 4 game winning streak come to an end. Another shout-out for Wild defensemen Hunter Warner playing in his 100th AHL game!

In a span of 4 minutes midway through the 1st, 3 goals were scored, however one of those was for the Wild (Matt Bartkowski). Justin Kloos tied things up about 4 minutes into the second, but a late goal by Rockford in the 2nd sent the Hogs into the 3rd up 3-2. Rockford added an empty netter and got their revenge on the Wild, picking up a 4-2 victory. The Wild were out-shot 39-33, were only 1-for-5 on the power-play, and killed off 5 of the 6 power-plays the Hogs had. You can’t win ‘em all. Wild fell to 7-3 on the season, but can now enjoy 2 days off ahead of a pair of back-to-back morning games.

Game 11: @ Rockford

Oh would you look at that. For the 3rd game in a row, it’s the Wild vs Rockford. Think these two teams are sick of one another? They might be now. This time, the Wild were able to get revenge on Rockford after scoring a goal in each period, and Kahkonen picked up his first professional shut-out. I’m sure many more are in store for him. Anas, Minnesota’s new call up Matt Read, and Captain Cal all found the back of the net for the Wild. As mentioned above, Kaapo secured the shut-out by stopping all 28 shots he faced. Special teams wise, the Wild went 1-for-4 on the power-play and killed off all 5 man advantages for the Hogs. The Wild moved to 8-3 on the year.

Game 12: vs Bakersfield

The long stretch run is over. The Wild wrapped up 5 games in 7 days with their first look at the Bakersfield Condors. Let’s set the stage right away. The Wild were down 4-2 after 40 minutes of play. Midway through the 3rd, the Wild came alive. Two goals just 15 seconds apart. The kids at Wells Fargo were screaming so loud I could hear them here in Michigan. Mason Shaw, and then Gerald Mayhew. It’s 4-4. The game remained scoreless and went to overtime. In overtime, Cooper Marody (who played USHL hockey in my hometown not a big deal) gave the Condors the extra point. The Wild were out-shot 41-28, was 1-for-3 on the power play, and 1-for-2 on the penalty kill.

Summary:

The Wild started this stretch at 5-2 and are now 8-3-1. 3-1-1 on this trip. Not bad if you ask me. The Wild were 8 points behind Milwaukee and are now just 2 points behind them and the Wild have 2 games in hand. The Wild are sitting pretty so far 12 games into the season. Granted there are a lot of hockey games left, but I like being optimistic okay?

The Look Ahead:

The Wild will enjoy the next 5 days off until their next game. Remember how I said Iowa is just 2 points behind Milwaukee? Guess who they Wild play next week? You guessed it, the Milwaukee Admirals. A game Wednesday and Friday at Wells Fargo between Iowa and Milwaukee will certainly have a lot of eyes on it. The next time the Des Moines Report comes out, we will only talk about 1 game, but it will be for the top spot in the Central Division.

Central Division Standings:

Stat Leaders: