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The Des Moines Report: Back to their winning ways

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At least one Wild team is winning, right?

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Previously on ‘The Des Moines Report’. The Wild would see their season long losing streak stretch to three games following back-to-back losses to San Antonio. On this edition, the Wild would get back to their winning ways before the Christmas break snapping their losing streak winning two out of three last week. We hope you enjoyed your Christmas festivities with family and friends, but hockey is back and at least for one Wild team, so are the wins.

Game 29: vs Stockton

The Wild would be back at Wells Fargo for the first time since December 8th, and man did they give the fans something to celebrate. And it wouldn’t take long for the fans to be out of their seats. Just 3:33 in, Dmitry Sokolov would pot his 9th of the year, giving Iowa the early 1-0 lead. Justin Kloos would up the Wild lead to 2 at the midway point of the 1st. However, Stockton would score the next three to take a 3-2 lead just before the nine minute mark of period 2. Kloos would pick up his second of the evening tying things up before the teams would end the second tied at 4. In the third, Gerald Mayhew would score just 55 seconds in with Gerry Fizgerald giving the Wild a brief 6-4 lead. Very brief however. In a span of 1:41 Stockton would score three times taking a 7-6 lead at the five minute mark. However, Kloss would score his third of the night at the 6:16 mark of the 3rd tying things up at 7. No goals the final 13 and some change in the 3rd until Louie Belpedio would win it 3:18 into overtime.

In the game, Kloos would set a new franchise record with points in a game with 6. Kaapo Kahkonen would stop 31 of the 38 saves in rout to the Wild win while the power-play would go 4-for-10 and the Wild penalty kill would go 4-for-5 on the night.

Game 30: vs Stockton

The same two teams would be back in action the next night for Pirates and Princesses night at Wells Fargo. Let’s just say, the night didn’t go as planned for the Wild as Andrew Hammond would be back between the pipes for the Wild. After a scoreless first, Stockton would score 29 seconds into the middle frame before Friday night’s overtime hero Louie Belpedio would tie things at one. From that point on, it was all Heat as they would score four unanswered in rout to a 5-1 victory against the Wild. Hammond would make just 16 saves in the 20 shots the Heat threw his way plus an empty netter for Stockton. Kloos who netted a hat-trick the night before, would have company as Tyler Graovac would pot three for the Heat. The power-play would be quiet going 0-for-6 while the penalty kill went 3-for-4.

Game 31: vs Rockford

The night after Christmas, the Wild would be back in action taking of division foe Rockford. Safe to say, the 1st period, the Wild may still have been in Christmas break mode. Out-shot 15-3 however Kahkonen was there to make every stop. In the second, Iowa would get goals from Matt Bartkowski and Fitzgerald (his team-leading 12th of the season) and head to the third twenty minutes away from getting back in the win column. In the third, history was made as Will Bitten would notch his first career professional goal so congrats are in order for that young man. To put the icing on the cake, Matt Read would add an empty netter for the 4-0 victory for the Wild. Kahkonen would earn his 4th shutout of the season with a 39-save performance. Just 20 shots for the Wild, but they made them count. The power-play would go scoreless for the second game in a row, but the penalty kill would go a perfect 4-for-4.

Looking Ahead:

The Wild will be in action three times the upcoming week. A Saturday night tilt against Milwaukee which happens to be Seinfeld/Festivus Night followed up by a New Year’s Eve matinee match-up against Chicago. Both of those games will be a Wells Fargo with puck drop set for 6pm, and 2:30pm respectfully. The Wild will kick off 2019 on the road on the 2nd against Chicago, this time being at Allstate Arena.

Central Division Standings

Stat Leaders: