CEDAR PARK, Texas – Three nights after snapping their 12-game losing streak, the Texas Stars made quick work of the Iowa Wild, scoring two goals in the first four minutes. Nicholas Caamano scored two goals and Rhett Gardner added three points as Texas defeated Iowa at home for the seventh straight time and won 7-3.
It was like a Wild West shootout in the first frame which saw the Stars head to the first break leading 4-2. Texas got on the board at 2:04, when Joel Kivirianta crossed the blueline into the Wild end, dropping the puck to Emil Djuse as he did. Djuse passed the puck to Michael Mersch who fired a wrist shot by Mat Robson for his sixth goal of the season.
Less than two minutes later, Joel L’Esperance brought the puck down the boards and into the Iowa end. He made a cross ice pass to Anthony Louis who blasted a one-timer that Robson knocked away. However, the puck hit off Tanner Kero caroming back toward the net where Louis would knock in the rebound for his second goal of the season and first since joining Texas.
The Wild were back on their heels, but they would start to gain some momentum as the period progressed. At 8:50, Gerald Mayhew would cut the deficit in half. With Iowa on the power play, Brennan Menell fired a shot from the point that Mayhew tipped between the legs of Landon Bow for his team leading 11th goal of the season.
At 11:42, the Stars restored their two-goal advantage. Djuse fired a shot that Robson saved, but Jason Robertson was able to corral the rebound, sending a pass to Gardner. He blasted the one-timer over the shoulder of the Iowa netminder and in for his fourth goal of the year.
Just 37 seconds later, the Stars extended their lead to three thanks to an incredible individual effort from L’Esperance. He fired a shot that was knocked down by an Iowa defender, but refused to give up on the play. L’Esperance battled through a defender, regaining control of the puck before firing a shot through the five-hole for his sixth goal of the season, adding his second point of the period.
This contest looked like it was going to get ugly quickly, but Mayhew gave his team some life by scoring his second goal of the game. A little over a minute after the L’Esperance goal, Matt Bartkowski carried the puck around the backside of the Texas net, then fired a pass across the crease to Mayhew, who tapped in the puck to give the Iowa forward his second multi-goal game of the 2019-20 season.
The Iowa Wild were outshot in the first, 16-9, but gained momentum in the second as they outshot Texas 13-7. However, it would be the Stars who would score the only goal of the frame. Dillon Heatherington blasted a shot from the point that was knocked down by Robson. The puck was loose in front of the goal, where Diego Cuglietta was able to knock it toward the far post. There, Joel Kiviranta knocked it in for his second goal of the season. That made it 5-2 which would be the score at the second break.
The Wild needed a spark and got it when Brandon Duhaime scored his third goal of the year 1:29 into the third. Nico Sturm won the draw back to Duhaime who made a great move to dance between two defenders before heading in toward the net. He moved to his backhand before sliding the puck around Bow to make it 5-3.
The Wild were back in it, but that euphoria ended 18 seconds later when Caamano scored the first of his two goals. Gardner tipped the puck to Caamano who danced around a defender before going from his forehand to backhand, then back to his forehand to beat Robson for his third goal of the year.
Six minutes later, Caamano was back on the scoresheet. Gardner sent Caamano in on a breakaway. He got Robson committed before putting the puck between the Iowa goalie’s legs to make it 7-3. That would be the final.
Mayhew finished with two goals for Iowa, but no other player had more than one point. Six players recorded at least two points for Texas including Gardner, who had a goal and two assists.
The Wild look to break their seven-game losing streak in Texas on Friday. Faceoff is scheduled for 7:00.
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