Previously on ‘The Des Moines Report’. The Wild would wrap up their California road trip with a three-in-three against Bakersfield and Ontario going 2-0-1 snapping out of their recent slump they have been in. On this edition, the Wild would remain away from Wells Fargo Center with games against Grand Rapids and Chicago before returning home for a game against San Antonio.
Game 59: at Grand Rapids
After a lengthy break off with no hockey, the Wild got to spend some time in Des Moines before making a trip to Grand Rapids for a key Central Division tilt. The Wild would find themselves trailing 1-0 just 17 seconds in, and 2-0 just passed the 7 minute mark of the first period. However, a late goal from Mitch McLain would pull the Wild within a goal headed to the middle frame. The only goal in the second would come from Will Bitten tying the game up at two going into the third. The Wild and Griffins would trade goals in the third first from Cal O’Reilly giving the Wild a brief lead but a minute later the Griffins would tie it back up. To overtime we go, and in the extra frame, Matt Bartkowski would net the winner for the 4-3 victory. Andrew Hammond would stop 34 of the 37 shots he faced to pick up a big victory on the road for the Wild. In the game, both teams would go 0-for-6 on the man advantage.
Game 60: at Chicago
A day and a half later, the Wild again be in action, this time against a team they are trying to catch in the Central Division being the Wolves from Chicago. However, it would be a night to forget for the Wild. In the first, Chicago would strike twice just passed the midway point and again late in the opening period. In the second, the Wolves would extend their lead to 3-0 just two minutes in. That would be the lone goal during the middle sequence so the Wild would need to pull a huge comeback in the third. However, Chicago would keep lighting the lamp making it 4-0 before the Wild got on the board on the power-play thanks to Kyle Rau, but it wasn’t enough as the Wild dropped this one 4-1 in Chicago. Kaapo Kahkonen stopped 29 of the 33 shots the Wolves shot his way but wasn’t enough. The Wild would go 1-for-5 on the man advantage while the penalty kill killed off two of the three opportunities the Wolves had.
Game 61: vs San Antonio
What seems like the first time in a very long time, the Wild would be back in action on their home ice at Wells Fargo against the Rampage. Bitten would get the Wild on the board late in the first giving Iowa a 1-0 lead after the first twenty of play. Just passed the midway point of the second, San Antonio would tie the game up at 1, but just 32 seconds later, O’Reilly would give the Wild another one goal lead. Those bang-bang goals would be the lone goals in the second frame. In the third Rau would strike once early and then put the icing on the cake late in the game to give the Wild a 4-1 victory. Hammond turned away 25 of the 26 shots thrown his way for yet another victory. Two of the four Wild goals would be scored on the man advantage while the penalty-kill went a successful four-for-four when the Rampage had a power-play.
The Wild and Rampage will be back in action again Friday night in Des Moines, before the Wild hit the road once again for a tilt against Tuscon Tuesday and Wednesday night in Arizona wrapping up the week of Iowa Wild hockey.
Central Division Standings