STOCKTON, California – The Iowa Wild finished their three-game California trip on a high note, dousing the Stockton Heat in overtime, 4-3. Kyle Bauman scored the game-winner a little over two minutes into the extra session as the Wild only trailed in this game for 54 seconds. Kaapo Kahkonen made 29 saves in his return to the team and Dmitry Sokolov had two goals and three points in the contest. The victory was the second of three games on the California trip.
The first period ended scoreless as the contest was a tight-checking affair early on. Both teams had seven shots through the first frame, but things picked up in the second. Both Kahkonen and Stockton goaltender Artyom Zagidulin were put to the test as Iowa outshot the Heat, 16-13.
For 30 minutes the game was scoreless, but Stockton would end that when Luke Philp netted his 12th goal of the year at 11:11. With the Heat on the power play, the Wild were the ones getting the better scoring chances, but Stockton would finally get a rush going starting at center ice. Buddy Robinson carried the puck into the Iowa end, feeding Philp at the left faceoff circle. He blasted a one-timer by Kahkonen to put the Heat on top by a goal.
The lead did not last long, however. Just 54 seconds later, Sokolov tied the score. Brandon Duhaime fought through a check in the left corner, then skated behind the net before passing the puck to Sokolov in the slot. He corralled the puck on his stick, then fired a wrist shot that beat Zagidulin glove side for his third goal of the year.
Five minutes later, the Iowa Wild took their first lead of the game. Sokolov was in the penalty box and came out just as Louie Belpedio gained control of the puck in his own end. He saw Sokolov coming out of the box, hitting him with a pass to send him in on a breakaway. Sokolov made a nice move to get Zagidulin down on the ice, before firing a wrist shot into the net for his second goal of the game.
Iowa entered the third leading by a goal, but Philp tied the score at 4:03 with his second goal of the contest. Brandon Davidson passed the puck back to Philp at the point who skated to the center of the blueline. He fired a shot that Kahkonen never really saw, driving it past the goaltender glove side to tie the score at two.
The Wild retook the lead at 12:34 on Sam Anas’ seventh goal of the year. Anas intercepted a clearing attempt in the Stockton end. He passed the puck to Gerald Mayhew who gave it back to Anas at the right faceoff circle. He fired a wrist shot that went top shelf to put Iowa up, 3-2.
The Iowa Wild clung to that lead and looked like they would win in regulation, but the Heat tied the score with just three seconds left in the contest. With the extra attacker on, Stockton controlled the puck in the Iowa end. Matt Bartkowski attempted to clear the puck, but Davidson made a great play to keep the puck in the zone. He made a behind the back pass to Justin Kirkland along the left boards. Kirkland fired a shot that somehow found its way through a maze of players and in for his sixth goal of the year.
A lot of teams would have been crushed by the sudden turn of events, but not the Wild. They took control of the extra frame, winning it at 2:03. Seconds after Sokolov made a great play to breakup a breakaway opportunity for Stockton, he knocked the puck out to center. Bauman made a heads up play, knocking the puck through the legs of a Heat defender, then outracing the defender to send himself on a breakaway of his own. He got Zagidulin to move to his right, then went to the backhand, tucking the puck into the corner of the net to give the Wild a 4-3 victory.
That assist gave Sokolov three points on the night. Anas had a goal and an assist. Kirkland had a goal and an assist for Stockton and Davidson had two assists.
Iowa (14-11-4) returns home on Friday for a pair of games against the Grand Rapids Griffins (12-14-3). The puck drops at 7:00.
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