WINNIPEG, MB – Another record is close to falling for the Iowa Wild, as Sam Anas added two assists to tie the franchise mark for points in a season. However, it was a bittersweet night for the forward, as JC Lipon delivered the game winning goal in a shootout to give the Manitoba Moose a 4-3 victory. The loss was the third in a row for Iowa (0-1-1-1).
The Moose took the lead just before after the 10-minute mark. After breaking up a scoring opportunity for the Wild in their end, Manitoba headed back the other way. Jimmy Oligny fed the puck to Kristian Vesalainen, who headed down the right wing and into the Iowa zone. Just after moving below the faceoff circle, he fed the puck across the slot to Kristian Reichel, who fired a wrist shot that beat Mat Robson up high on the short side for his 12th goal of the year.
A little over a minute later, the Wild would be on the power play, taking just eight seconds with the man advantage to tie the score. Luke Johnson won the draw back to Anas, who fed Brennan Menell along the blueline. Menell swung the puck to Johnson at the left faceoff circle, who fired a wrist shot over the shoulder of Eric Comrie for his 16th goal of the season and 11th on the power play.
The Moose looked like they retook the lead just after the 10-minute mark of the second. Brent Pedersen took a feed in the neutral zone that sent him in on a breakaway. Pederson could not gain full control of a bouncing puck, allowing Robson to make the save, but the puck was loose in front of the net. Cameron Schilling knocked the puck in, but after a review, the goal was waived off as it was ruled that Schilling had obstructed Robson.
About five minutes later, Manitoba would retake the lead. The Moose were having a lot of trouble getting the puck out of their own end, but finally got something going as they setup in the Wild zone. Leon Gawanke passed the puck to Oligny at the point. He fired a wrist shot that looked like it deflected in off an Iowa defender to put Manitoba on top, 2-1.
Just as they had in the first, Iowa tied the score about a minute later. Mike Liambas dumped the puck along the boards and behind the Manitoba net. Comrie went behind the goal to retrieve it, but Connor Dewar beat him to the loose puck, feeding it in front to Cody McLeod who buried the one-timer into the empty net for his fourth goal of the year.
In the third, the Moose took the lead for the third time in this contest, as Cole Maier scored just before the 13-minute mark. Andrei Chibisov was battling Josh Atkinson for the puck behind the Iowa goal. He was able to gain control, making the backhand pass to Maier in front of the net. Maier quickly shot the puck. It looked like Robson had made the save, but it trickled between his arm and side and into the net for Maier’s seventh goal of the season.
The Wild had been outshot 28-18 through the first two periods, but they were forcing the play in the third, especially after Maier had given his team the lead. They took eight straight shots on goal, helping to produce the tying tally at 16:37.
Iowa was on the power play, keeping the puck in the Manitoba end for well over a minute without a stoppage. Johnson had the puck near the left faceoff circle before feeding it across the slot to Anas. Anas moved down low toward the goal line, then fed the puck into the slot to Kyle Rau who redirected the puck past Comrie for his 14th goal of the year.
That gave Anas two assists in the contest, keeping him tied atop the AHL in points with 67. His point total also ties Cal O’Reilly’s single season mark by a Wild player, set last year. He also leads the league with 48 assists.
The score remained tied through regulation, forcing overtime where neither team could capitalize. That sent the game to a shootout. The Wild missed on each of their three attempts. Robson stopped Manitoba on their first two attempts, but not the third, as Lipon won it by beating the Wild goaltender up high to give Manitoba a 4-3 victory.
Robson stopped 32 of the 35 shots he faced. Comrie saved 33 of 36. Oligny had a goal and an assist for the Moose as did Johnson for Iowa.
The Wild have an afternoon game on Sunday as they take on the Moose at 2:00pm CDT.
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