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Wild Loss Puts Playoff Hopes on Life Support, 2-1

AHL

Wild Loss Puts Playoff Hopes on Life Support

The loss puts the Wild’s playoff hopes on life support, as the team is three points behind Texas with two games left to play.

Photo Courtesy: Iowa Wild

Wild Loss Puts Playoff Hopes on Life Support

DES MOINES, Iowa – Zane McIntyre was spectacular between the pipes again on Saturday night, stopping 33 of 35 shots. However, his team could generate just one goal as the Iowa Wild lost to the Texas Stars, 2-1. Kyle Rau had the game’s only goal for Iowa, netting his team-leading 23rd tally of the year. The loss puts the Wild’s playoff hopes on life support, as the team is three points behind Texas with two games left to play.

Texas dominated much of the first two periods, outshooting Iowa 29-18, including 15-10 in the first frame. However, McIntyre was able to shut down the Stars, keeping the game scoreless heading to the first intermission.

Matthew Murray had shut out Iowa on Friday evening and had held the Wild off the scoreboard in the first period, giving him 80 straight minutes of shutout hockey. However, his streak ended just before the 91-minute mark when Rau put his team on top by a goal. Bryce Gervais’ shot was saved by Murray, but the rebound came to the opposite side of the net where Rau was able to knock it in to give the Wild a 1-0 lead.

Less than two minutes later a delay of game penalty put Texas on the power-play and it looked like they tied the score immediately, but McIntyre made a spectacular save to keep his team on top. A shot from just above the left face-off circle was saved by the Wild netminder, with the rebound deflecting to the opposite side of the net where Riley Damiani looked like he had an empty net. However, McIntyre was able to dive to his left to make a spectacular save, keeping his team on top.

Unfortunately, the relics could not keep Texas from tying the score. At the 12:44 mark with the Stars still on the power-play, Jordan Kawaguchi took a shot that was knocked down by McIntyre, but Tanner Kero gained control of the rebound, tucking it just inside the left post for his fifth goal of the year.

The score remained tied through the first 14 minutes of the third, but with 5:51 left in the contest Alex Petrovic gave the Stars their first lead of the game. Texas won the draw in the Iowa zone back to Jerad Rosburg, who dished the puck across the blue line to Petrovic. The defenseman lifted a wrist shot that beat McIntyre over the shoulder for his fifth tally of the year.

The Wild tried to rally to even the score, outshooting Texas 16-6 in the final frame. However, as he had done the previous night, Murray shut the door on the Iowa come back, preserving the 2-1 victory.

The loss dropped Iowa to 31-30-9, good for 71 points and a 0.507 points percentage. Texas moved to 31-28-12, 74 points and a 0.521 point percentage. The Stars have one game left which they will play Tuesday in Manitoba. Iowa travels to take on Rockford on Sunday to take on the IceHogs at 5:00. Should they win that game and Texas lose on Tuesday, the Wild will welcome Rockford to town on Wednesday looking to earn that final playoff spot in the Central Division.

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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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