WINNIPEG, MB. – Joseph Cramarossa scored his first two goals of the season to help lead the Iowa Wild to a 4-1 victory over the Manitoba Moose on Sunday afternoon. Damien Giroux and Marco Rossi each had two assists for Iowa, who earned their third victory in their last four games. Dereck Baribeau was solid in net, stopping 29 of 30 shots.
The Wild took the lead 10:54 into the contest. Iowa was doing a great job forechecking inside the Manitoba zone, and eventually created a turnover in the corner. Giroux took the puck away in the corner, sped behind the net, looping along the boards toward the blueline before coming back across the slot. As he got to the right-side face-off circle, about 30 feet from where he began his journey, Giroux fired a shot that was knocked down in front, but Will Bitten was at the doorstep, knocking in the loose puck for his first goal of the season.
The one-goal lead held into the second period, despite the Moose having an 8-6 advantage in shots heading into the first intermission. The defense played very well in front of Baribeau, not giving Manitoba many chances, but the Iowa goaltender ensured he kept the puck out of the net.
In the second, Cramarossa extended the lead 6:34 into the frame. The puck was loose in the slot in the Moose zone. The defenseman attempted to clear the puck out of his end, but gave it right to Mason Shaw who moved down the slot before noticing Cramarossa alone at the right side of the net. He made a perfect feed to the Wild defenseman who tucked the puck past Manitoba goaltender Mikhail Berdin for his first goal of the year.
Iowa looked like they were heading into the second intermission with the two-goal advantage but, with 40 seconds left in the period, Nick Swaney knocked the puck out of the Iowa zone right onto the stick of Marco Rossi who sped through the neutral zone and into the Manitoba end on a 2-on-1 break. He fed a pass across to Cramarossa, who swooped across the crease, tucking a backhander over the shoulder of Berdin for his second goal of the game.
Manitoba had the better of the play through the first two periods, outshooting Iowa 19-13, but they had no answers for Baribeau. The Wild were content to eat out the clock in the third, taking just four shots on net, but were able to extend their lead to four thanks to a Joe Hicketts goal 15:17 into the third period.
Once again, the Wild forecheck was pivotal, denying Manitoba the opportunity to get the puck out of their end. Giroux was able to take the puck away in the corner, passing it just below the right face-off circle to Rossi. He turned and fed the puck back to Hicketts at the point, who fired a wrist shot that beat Berdin to the glove side for his second goal of the year.
Manitoba had been completely outplayed in this contest, but they would finally get on the board with 2:20 left in the game. David Gustafsson carried the puck into the Iowa zone, moving toward the net before dishing it across the crease to Cole Perfetti, who redirected the puck just inside the left post for his second goal of the year. That made it 4-1, but Manitoba would get no closer.
The Moose outshot the Wild, 30-17 in the game. The Iowa penalty killers killed off all three power plays for Manitoba.
The Iowa Wild (4-2-0) returns home next Friday, playing the 2-4-1 Grand Rapids Griffins. Puck drop is scheduled for 6:00.
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