INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – Like one of his military heroes, Trevin Kozlowski returned to the Iowa Heartlanders on Saturday to lead the team to a 3-2 victory over the Kansas City Mavericks. It was General Douglas MacArthur who was famous for telling the Philippine people “I will return,” and Kozlowski had his own version of the famous motto, returning from the Iowa Wild to stop 32 shots. Joe Widmar scored two goals and Kaid Oliver added two assists for Iowa.
The first period was a tight-checking affair, with Kansas City outshooting Iowa, 8-3. Neither team could find the back of the net, but the pace picked up in the second period, as the Mavericks dominated play, outshooting Iowa, 12-5. However, it would be the Heartlanders who would leave the period on top.
At the 4:33 mark, Widmar scored his first goal of the game. Kaid Oliver moved the puck up the boards to Cole Stallard just before he entered the Mavericks end. Stallard then passed the puck to Widmar, who was moving toward the goal line just inside the right faceoff circle. It looked like he may go across the slot with a pass, but decided to shoot instead, putting the puck through the five-hole of Daniil Chechelev for his fourth goal of the year.
Kozlowski was on the top of his game, making a number of big saves, including two on Lane Scheidl. The first came on a redirect opportunity at the far post when Kozlowski was able to quickly slide over and get his pad out to make the save. The other was minutes later when Scheidl was alone at the backdoor for the one-timer, but the Heartlanders netminder followed the play perfectly, getting his blocker out to stop the shot.
The Heartlanders hung onto the one-goal lead through the second intermission and the first half of the third. The Mavericks dominated play in the final period, outshooting Iowa, 14-2. Just past the half-way mark of the period, the pressure finally paid off when Darik Angeli tied the score. With Kansas City on the power play, Scheidl passed the puck to Nick Pastujov, who was just below the right faceoff circle. He made a one-touch pass to Angeli, who blasted a one-timer from the high slot to tie the score at one.
Iowa had not taken a shot through the first 11 minutes but, just 47 seconds after the Angeli tally, Widmar scored his second goal of the game to put the Heartlanders back on top. The Mavericks were attempting to setup to move out of their zone, but the Kansas City defenseman fell down, leaving the puck right in front of the net for Widmar. He quickly swept in, blasting in the one-timer to put Iowa on top, 2-1.
With just over six minutes left, the Heartlanders found themselves on the power play and extended their lead to two on just their second shot of the period. Just 13 seconds into the man-advantage, Ben Sokay passed the puck to Oliver who was to the right of the Kansas City net. He made a great one-touch, no-look backhand pass to Kris Bennett at the far post, who redirected the puck in for his team leading 11th goal of the season.
The Mavericks continued to get the better of the play, but could not solve Kozlowski. They finally pulled within one with 10 seconds left when Pastujov scored his ninth goal of the year. However, 10 seconds later, the horn sounded on the 3-2 Heartlanders victory.
Kozlowski was spectacular for Iowa. He moved to 5-6-1 with the victory. The win was his third in a row and the third in the last four games for Iowa (8-13-3).
The Heartlanders are off until December 26 when they welcome the Mavericks for a pair of games. the puck drops at 3:00 on Sunday.
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