Previously on ‘The Des Moines Report’. The Wild would have their hands full facing two teams they are chasing in the standings, along with facing San Antonio who is holding down the last spot in the Central Division. They would take care of business against Grand Rapids and the Rampage but would drop their contest against Chicago. On this edition, Iowa would face off with San Antonio for the second game in-a-row at home before heading to Arizona for a back-to-back against Tucson.
Game 63: vs San Antonio
For just the second time this month, and only third time at home since February 22nd, the Wild would be back at Wells Fargo Center against a team they should take care of easily, and did just that. However the Wild would find themselves trailing just before the midway point of the first before Gerald Mayhew would tie things up on the power-play before the Rampage answered back to take a 2-1 lead after the first period. In the middle frame, the Wild would score three times in the first seven minutes all on the power-play. Two from Sam Anas and one from Kyle Rau taking a 4-2 lead before San Antonio would score late to pull within a goal heading to the third. In the third, Mason Shaw would put the Wild back in front by two before Mayhew would score on the power-play putting the icing on the cake for the 6-3 victory. The power-play would strike five times on their eight opportunities they had while the penalty-kill was unsuccessful not killing off both of the Rampage man advantages. Andrew Hammond would stop 19 of the 22 shots he faced for the victory.
Game 64: @ Tucson
In the first game of a back-to-back, Iowa would once again hit the road in Arizona while Des Moines prepares for the 1st round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. The Wild would strike first just four minutes in thanks to Dmitry Sokolov. However, the Roadrunners would strike four straight times taking a 5-1 lead into the middle stages of the third period. Rau would score with just ten seconds left, but it wasn’t enough as the Wild fell 5-2 in the first game in Arizona. Iowa would go 1-for-3 on the power-play, while the penalty-kill got back on track killing off four of the six Tucson attempts. Hammond would once again be between the pipes but would struggle only stopping 28 of the 33 shots thrown his way.
Game 65: @ Tucson
Just 24 hours later, the two teams would square off once again, but this time it would be a lot different than the previous night. The first would be scoreless, but just before the five minute mark of the second period, Mitch McLain would give the Wild a 1-0 lead. And with just five minutes left in the second, the Wild lead would double off the stick of Will Bitten. In the third, the Wild would shut down the Roadrunners and pick up the 2-0 victory. While both teams would go 0-for-2 on the power-play, the Wild would use their 5-on-5 play to pick up the win. Kaapo Kahkonen would stop all 24 shots he faced for the shut-out and to pull the Wild within two points from the top spot in the Central Division.
With the Tournament taking place as mentioned earlier in Des Moines, Iowa will head west to face Stockton Friday and Sunday night before returning home for a pivotal Central Division match-up against Grand Rapids.
AHL Playoff Primer/Standings