DES MOINES, Iowa – The Iowa Wild were looking to snap their five-game losing streak on Friday evening and looked like they were in the driver’s seat, holding a 3-1 edge entering the final period. However, the Rockford IceHogs twice pulled within a goal, but Iowa held on for a 4-3 victory. Kyle Rau led the way with a goal and two assists, and Mitchell Chaffee added two assists. Zane McIntyre stopped 22 shots.
The Wild took the lead 3:07 into the contest. Chaffee passed the puck to Joseph Cramarossa. As he reached the left face-off circle, Cramarossa lifted a wrist shot that sailed past Rockford netminder Arvid Soderblom for his ninth goal of the season.
Just before the 15-minute mark, Marco Rossi extended the lead to two. Rau started the play when Soderblom stopped his scoring attempt. The rebound came right to Chaffee, who passed it to Rossi. Rossi pushed a backhand attempt through the legs of the netminder and in for his 15th goal of the year.
Iowa extended their lead to three when Victor Rask scored his first AHL goal in seven years 59 seconds into the frame. Nick Swaney took a shot that Rask redirected past Soderblom to make it 3-0.
The Wild held that three-goal lead through the first 31 minutes of this contest, but Michal Tepley gave the IceHogs a little momentum when he netted his eighth tally of the year just before the 12-minute mark. Andrei Altybarmakian took a shot that was knocked down, but Tepley was able to gain control and put the loose puck in to make it 3-1.
Rockford cut the deficit to a single goal when Josiah Slavin netted his fifth tally of the year, 4:18 into the third period. Brett Connolly fed the puck to Slavin at the left face-off circle, who blasted a one-timer by McIntyre.
Iowa suddenly found themselves on the defensive and clung to that one-goal lead for the next 13 minutes. Rau gave them a little breathing room when he netted his 15th goal of the year at the 17:32 mark. Soderblom headed to the bench for the extra attacker, but the Wild regained control. Turner Ottenbreit moved the puck to Rau, who fired it into the empty net. That pushed the Iowa forward into second place on the all-time franchise list for points. He had reached second all-time in assists earlier in the contest.
This game looked like it was all but locked up, but Slavin scored his second goal of the contest with a little under two minutes left in the game. With the IceHogs killing a penalty, Ian Mitchell stole the puck and fed it to Slavin at the right face-off circle, who blasted a one-timer by McIntyre to make it a 4-3 game.
Rockford had a couple of good scoring chances in the game’s final minute, but McIntyre stopped both attempts securing the one-goal victory.
Since returning to the American Hockey League, Rask has been a bright spot, recording a goal and an assist in the game. He now has three points in two contests with the Wild. Rask last played in the AHL for the Charlotte Checkers in 2013-14.
The Wild (21-21-6) will have a short break before traveling to Michigan next Friday to take on the Grand Rapids Griffins (21-20-7). The puck drops at 6:00 Iowa time.
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