DES MOINES, Iowa – The Iowa Wild returned home from their successful five-game road trip where they went 3-1-1, beginning a stretch of 12 of their next 13 games at home. For 40 minutes, it looked like they would get their homecoming off to the right start. But, three goals by the San Jose Barracuda in the final frame erased a 1-0 lead as San Jose prevailed, 3-1. Zachary Sawchenko made 23 saves and Jeffrey Viel scored two goals for the visiting Barracuda.
Neither team could get on the board after one period. San Jose dominated much of the play, outshooting the Wild 10-5 through the first frame. The Barracuda were swarming over the final 10 minutes of the period, outshooting Iowa 8-2, but it was Wild goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen who was the difference.
About halfway through the period, the Barracuda were on the power play. The Wild were struggling to get the puck out of their own end, and San Jose was taking advantage of a tired group of penalty killers. They had four great setups, including a cross ice pass to Jayden Halbgewachs who fired the one-timer, but Kahkonen was able to quickly slide across the crease to block the opportunity.
In the second, the Wild were able to get their offense going and that helped generate the only goal of the frame. This period was a feverish back-and-forth affair where each team reached double digits in shots (13-11, Barracuda). Finally, at the 15:29 mark, Dmitry Sokolov broke the scoreless tie.
San Jose was trying to clear the puck out of their end, but Brandon Duhaime was able to knock it down and maintain control in the Barracuda end. He moved in toward Sawchenko, then made a great behind the back pass to Sokolov who was trailing the play. He moved to his left, then fired a wrist shot over the netminder’s shoulder for his ninth goal of the year. That extended his point streak to four games.
San Jose had dominated much of this contest, but they trailed by a goal entering the third. However, things changed quickly in the third. Just 33 seconds into the frame, the Barracuda would finally get on the board.
Alexander True gained control of the puck along the boards in the Iowa end. He fed the puck across the slot to Nikolai Knyzhov, who was crashing the net. Knyzhov could not get control of the puck, but it hit off his stick and was loose right in front of Kahkonen. Viel simply swept in, gained control, then fired a wrist shot just inside the far post for his seventh of the year.
At 6:22, San Jose took the lead. The Barracuda forecheck was making it difficult for the Wild to get the puck out of their end. Jonny Brodzinski gained control of the puck, then started moving down the slot. He passed the puck to his left to Trevor Carrick, who made a one-touch pass across the slot to Sasha Chmelevski. Chmelevski fired the puck into the top corner for his seventh goal of the year to put the Barracuda on top for good.
With 1:31 left in the game, Viel added an empty-net tally. It was his second goal of the game, as the San Jose Barracuda completed the 3-1 victory. San Jose scored three goals in the final period on just seven shots.
Sawchenko finished with 23 saves for the victory. Carrick added two assists. Despite taking the loss, Kahkonen was solid, stopping 27 of 29 shots he faced.
These two teams will square off again on Saturday night. The puck drops at 6:00pm CST.
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