DES MOINES, IA – D.J. Busdeker recorded the first two-goal performance of his professional career, helping lead the Rockford IceHogs to a 5-3 victory over Iowa Wild on Saturday evening. Dylan McLaughlin added a goal and two assists for the victorious IceHogs and Ivan Nalimov stopped 36 of 39 shots. Matt Boldy and Gerry Mayhew remained red hot for the Wild, with each recording two assists.
Iowa jumped out in front, as Cody McLeod scored his second goal of the season 2:10 into the contest. McLeod gained control of the puck behind the net, then moved to the side looking for the wraparound opportunity. He was able to put the backhander through the legs of Nalimov and the Wild were quickly out in front.
That one-goal lead held through the first period as the Wild dominated play, outshooting the IceHogs, 17-8. However, it was Nalimov who kept his team in the game, making a number of quality saves.
His performance proved to be huge as he gave Rockford the opportunity to get back into the game and they tied the score 4:29 into the second period. Boldy had attempted to clear the puck out of the Wild zone, but McLaughlin made a great play to keep the puck inside the Iowa end. He moved across the slot toward the left faceoff circle, then peeled off toward the blueline before firing a shot that Busdeker tipped by Iowa netminder Hunter Jones to tie the score at one.
The score remained tied during the next 10 minutes, but a bad break put the IceHogs on top. Carson Gicewicz had control of the puck behind the Wild net, passing it to the blueline to Dmitry Osipov. Osipov fired a shot that hit off the post, then hit off the back of the leg of Jones and slid across the goal line for Osipov’s first goal of the season.
Rockford was poised to head to the locker room up by a goal, but Gabriel Dumont tied the score with 32 seconds left in the period. Mayhew passed the puck to Boldy in the corner, who dished it out front to Dumont. The Wild forward battled through two attempts by Rockford players to knock the puck off his stick before beating Nalimov with a wrist shot to tie the score at two.
The Wild had the momentum heading in for the second intermission, but Rockford retook the lead 3:39 into the third. McLaughlin carried the puck into the Wild zone, firing a shot that Jones saved, but the rebound deflected to the opposite faceoff circle. No one slowed down Busdeker and he was able to blast the rebound in for his fifth goal of the season, putting Rockford on top for good.
A little less than three minutes later the IceHogs extended their lead to two thanks to a power-play goal. Cody Franson passed the puck back to McLaughlin at the point. He moved to just above the faceoff circle before firing a wrist shot that beat Jones between the legs for his fifth goal of the season.
The IceHogs looked like they were in command of this game, but Connor Dewar pulled the Wild back within one 32 seconds after the McLaughlin tally. Boldy moved in on Namilov, firing a wrist shot that the Rockford netminder saved, but the rebound was loose in front of the crease. Dewar lunged for the puck, laying out while putting a wrist shot in for his 12th goal of the season.
Down by a goal, the Wild had 13 minutes to try to tie it up, and they controlled play over much of that time, but Namilov continued to shine in net. With about a minute left in the game, the team pulled Jones for the extra attacker, but Garrett Mitchell sealed the victory with an empty-net tally to give Rockford the 5-3 victory.
Boldy now has nine points in his first seven professional games. That includes four two-point games. Mayhew has 17 points in 17 games since returning from the Minnesota Wild.
The Iowa Wild (12-11-4) are off until Friday when they take on the Chicago Wolves at Triphahn Center Ice Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill. The puck drops at 7:00.
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