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Miura Leads Heartlanders To Comeback Victory

Miura Leads Heartlanders To Comeback Victory

CORALVILLE, IA – For 40 minutes, the Toledo Walleye dominated, looking like they were going to skate away with a shutout victory over the Iowa Heartlanders on Saturday. However, Iowa showed a lot of…well, heart, scoring three third-period goals to rally for the second straight night, defeating Toledo, 3-2. Yuki Miura led the way, scoring two goals, including the game-winner and Trevin Kozlowski stopped 36 shots to earn his fourth win of the season.

Things got off on the right foot for Toledo, as they scored just 25 seconds into the contest. The opportunity developed when Alex Carlson wound up to blast a shot from the point inside the Walleye zone, but his stick broke on the shot. That allowed Toledo to gain possession, moving the puck in the other direction. Steve Oleksy moved the puck ahead to Conlan Keenan just outside the Walleye blueline. He moved down the boards into the Iowa end near the corner before heading toward the net along the goal line. As he approached, he wristed a shot over Kozlowski’s shoulder for his fourth goal of the year.

The Walleye had a 1-0 lead heading to the first intermission, despite the fact that the Heartlanders had outshot them 11-9. However, Toledo dominated the second period, outshooting Iowa, 19-2. That allowed them to extend their lead to two thanks to John Albert’s 11th goal of the season at 12:53. The goal was a controversial one, as it looked like Kozlowski had covered the puck after a rebound opportunity by Toledo, but the puck eventually was knocked loose toward TJ Hensick near the corner. He fired a bad-angle shot that Kozlowski saved, but the rebound came right to Albert who put it in. That was the third straight game against Iowa that Albert had scored.

Toledo looked like they were in complete command of this game, holding a 2-0 edge heading to the second intermission, outshooting the Heartlanders, 28-13. However, Miura got this team on the comeback trail, scoring 50 seconds into the third period. A great forecheck by Ben Sokay created a turnover right in front of Walleye goaltender Kaden Fulcher. Sokay moved below the left face-off circle before dishing the puck back to Miura, who fired a wrist shot that beat Fulcher low to the blocker side for his fifth goal of the year.

A little over three minutes later, Iowa tied the score. Cole Golka stole the puck just outside the Walleye blueline. He moved in just above the right face-off circle before firing a laser of a wrist shot that beat Fulcher to the far post for his third goal of the year.

Despite the fact that Toledo was still dominating in shots, Iowa had tied the score and it was not done. Almost two minutes after the Golka tally, Miura gave his team the lead, scoring on the power-play to put the Heartlanders on top, 3-2. A great play by Bryce Misley set up the Heartlanders opportunity. Misley briefly lost the puck near the Toledo blueline, and it looked like the Walleye were heading the other way on a 2-on-1 shorthanded opportunity. However, Misley dove and knocked the puck forward, keeping it in the Toledo zone. That allowed Joe Widmar to gain control, moving down the slot toward Fulcher. At the last second, he passed the puck back to Miura, who went to the backhand, directing the puck through the legs of the Toledo goaltender for his second goal of the contest.

From there, it was all Kozlowski, making five saves in the final 10 minutes of the game to preserve the 3-2 victory. Kozlowski finished with 36 saves, moving to 4-6-1. The victory moves Iowa to 3-1-0 in their last four games. The Heartlanders are now 7-12-3, moving into sixth place in the Central Division.

Iowa is off until Friday when it travels to Kansas City to take on the Mavericks for a pair of games. Friday night’s contest is scheduled to begin at 7:05.

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    Robert Pannier covers the Iowa Wild for Field Pass Hockey. Follow and interact with him on Twitter @FPHWild.

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