DES MOINES, Iowa – After scoring three goals in the final frame of Friday night’s contest, the Iowa Wild kept the momentum going, scoring three second period goals on their way to a 5-2 victory against the Milwaukee Admirals. Gerald Mayhew had a huge night for the Wild, scoring a goal and adding three assists, while Sam Anas added two assists to help lead the Iowa offense. The Wild also tallied two power-play goals in the contest.
Iowa controlled play through much of the first 10 minutes, outshooting the Milwaukee Admirals 7-2. However, it would be the Admirals who would jump out on top first. At the 10:21 mark, Colin Blackwell passed the puck to Steven Santini just above the faceoff circle to the left of Kaapo Kahkonen. He waited for a screen to develop, then fired a shot that went over the shoulder of the Iowa goaltender and in for his first goal of the year.
The lead lasted for just 15 seconds before the Wild would tie it. Louis Belpido’s shot from the point was knocked down in front, but went right to Brandon Duhaime, who fired it in for his first goal of the year.
The score remained tied at one for much of the second period, despite the fact that the Wild were dominating play. Two early power play opportunities allowed the Iowa to hold Milwaukee to just two shots through the first 11 minutes of the frame.
Despite this, the Wild were not able to take advantage of their power play, starting the contest 0-for-4 on the man advantage for the second straight contest. However, as they did in their first game, the fifth power play proved to be the difference maker.
With Joe Pendenza off for tripping, the Wild peppered Connor Ingram, forcing the Admirals goaltender to make four big saves. At the 11:27 mark, Mayhew gained control behind the net. He passed it out in front to Gabriel Dumont, who was all alone. Dumont gained control of the puck before firing a wrist shot past Ingram for his second goal of the season.
With 2:45 left in the second period, Iowa would extend their lead to two. Mayhew carried the puck down the right side heading toward the goal. At the last moment, he passed across to Mitch McLain, who moved to his forehand, drawing Ingram slightly to his right, before moving to his backhand, sliding the puck just inside the goal post for his first goal of the season.
A little over a minute later, the Iowa Wild were on the power play and they would make it a 4-1 game. Brennan Menell passed the puck across the blue line to Anas, who moved in to about 15 feet from the goal before making a pass across the crease to Mayhew. Mayhew blasted the one-timer in for his second goal of the year and third point of the contest.
After the first period goal, the Wild defense was absolutely dominating. They allowed just two shots in the second period, and four through the first 17 minutes of the third. Milwaukee was seeing no opportunity to try to get themselves back into the game.
However, the Admirals would add a late goal with just under three minutes left in the contest. Anthony Richard gained control of the puck along the right boards, passing it across the crease to Josh Wilkins. Wilkins waited until Kahkonen had committed himself before passing to Miikka Salomaki, who was left wide open at the side of the crease. The Milwaukee forward buried the puck into the empty goal for his first goal of the season to cut the deficit to two.
The Admirals would pull their goaltender to get the extra attacker, but it would be the Wild that would seal the victory. With 48 seconds left in the game, Iowa was able to keep the puck in the Milwaukee end. Mayhew dumped the puck behind the Admirals net. Will Bitten gained control, then skated in front, tucking the puck into the empty goal for his first tally of the season. That was the third assist of the game for Mayhew, finishing out his four-point night.
It was a fairly easy night for Kahkonen, who stopped 15 of the 17 shots he faced. The win moves the Iowa goaltender to 2-0-0 on the season.
The special teams continues to impress early on. The penalty killing unit killed off all four power-play opportunities for Milwaukee, making them a perfect 8-for-8 through the first two games. The power-play unit was 2-for-6, and are now 3-for-11 early on.
The Iowa Wild are off until Friday night when they welcome the Texas Stars (0-2-0). Opening faceoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. CT.
Follow Robert Pannier on Twitter (@SinBinWild) for all your news and analysis on the Iowa Wild!
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