DES MOINES, Iowa – Mitchell Chaffee scored 2:16 into overtime to give the Iowa Wild a 5-4 victory over the Rockford IceHogs, keeping their playoff hopes alive. The OT game-winner was part of a two-goal, three-point night for Chaffee. Calen Addison had two assists for the Wild. Zane McIntyre earned the win, stopping 27 shots.
It looked like this contest with head to the first intermission scoreless, but Brett Connolly scored with 54 seconds left in the first period to send Rockford to the break with a 1-0 lead. Alec Regula took a shot that McIntyre saved, but Connolly was right on the doorstep, potting the rebound opportunity for his 13th goal of the year.
The late goal seemed to spark a fire in the Wild, as they responded with three unanswered goals to start the second frame. Adam Beckman tied the score 68 seconds into the period. Like the Rockford tally, Beckman scored on a rebound chance for his ninth goal of the year. Chaffee took a shot that IceHogs netminder Arvid Soderblom saved, but Beckman put in the rebound.
Just before the eight-minute mark, Chaffee gave his team the lead. With the Wild on the power-play, Addison passed the puck to Chaffee who moved in just above the right face-off circle before lifting a blistering wrist shot that beat Soderblom for his 14th goal of the year.
At the 11:25 mark, Bryce Gervais made it a 3-1 lead with his second goal of the year. Addison passed the puck off the boards to Gervais, springing him for a breakaway opportunity. He moved in on the Rockford netminder, beating him to the far post and it looked like Iowa was going to dominate this contest.
However, Evan Barratt scored his ninth goal of the season just after the 13-minute mark to pull the IceHogs back within one. Barratt took a pass from Isaak Phillips at the left face-off circle, lifting it over the shoulder of McIntyre to make it 3-2.
Kyle Rau extended the lead back to two with his 17th goal of the year at the 17:31 mark. Once again, the Wild capitalized on the power-play, as Mason Shaw won the draw inside the Rockford zone. Rau gained control of the face-off win and beat Soderblom with a wrist shot to give the Wild a 4-2 lead.
Iowa had outshot Rockford 27-20 through the first two periods and continued to put the pressure on in the third, outshooting the IceHogs, 18-11. However, it would be Rockford that would come away with two goals in the period, as Barratt and Connolly each netted their second tallies of the game.
Barratt scored just after the seven-minute mark to make this a one-goal game. Dylan McLaughlin passed the puck to Barratt who was standing directly in front of McIntyre. He was able to redirect the puck past Iowa netminder.
Just before the 17-minute mark, Connolly netted his second goal of the game. Lukas Reichel made a great feed to Connolly, who blasted a one-timer past McIntyre to tie the score at four.
The Wild continued to put pressure on in the remaining three minutes of regulation, but this contest was headed to the extra session. That is where Chaffee scored just after the two-minute mark. Chaffee was able to gain control of the puck inside his own, leading a 2-on -1 break the other direction. He waited until he was just above the left face-off circle before firing a laser wrist shot that caught the upper corner to give Iowa the 5-4 victory.
The win snapped a three-game losing streak for Iowa, moving the team to 24-25-8 (56 points). That ties them with the Texas Stars for sixth place in the division, as each team has a .491 winning percentage. The Grand Rapids Griffins are in the fifth and final playoff spot at a .492 winning percentage.
Iowa is off on Saturday but will welcome the Chicago Wolves on Sunday. The puck drops at 3:00 pm CT.
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