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  • Iowa picks up a point, but drop their third straight in OT with a 4-3 loss to San Diego


    What started off as a welcomed homecoming for Iowa following their Texas road trip turned bittersweet as the Wild dropped their third straight game in similar fashion following yet another overtime loss to a Pacific Division opponent.

    Niklas Svedberg (6-7-3, 2.81 GAA/.906 SV%) returned from injury to make his 15th start of the season. He was able to stop 30 of 34 shots from the Gulls, but that last miss being the dagger with a wide open net. On the opposite end, Dallas Eakins opted to go with Reto Berra (4-2-0, 2.96 GAA/.908 SV%) over rookie Kevin Boyle. The Bulach, Switzerland native had a bad misstep in the second, but he was “good enough” making 18 saves on 21 attempts for the win.

    Flat First

    With both sides getting a few days off between games, there was a bit of a sluggish start out of both. The chances were coming few and far between for the two sides that combined for a total of eight first period shots (Iowa: 2; San Diego: 6).

    Iowa’s penalty kill continued to show their elite status in the AHL, stifling both power play opportunities for the Gulls that came into the night with the best unit in the league at a 23.8 percent success rate.

    The Wild managed one good shift where they established a presence down low in the offensive zone; cycling passes and maintaining possession. However, there were no good chances for centering passes as the offense was unable to test Berra in the early goings.

    Both teams were trading blows and penalties, but the first came to a close with a scoreless decision.

    Offensive Exchange in the Second

    Iowa and San Diego had a lot of trouble generating offense in the first, and that trend carried into the second. Both Berra and Svedberg were on their game, or so it seemed.

    A little over five minute into the first, Berra was the one to blink first, and it wasn’t a good look. The Swiss netminder should be credited with an assist as a clearing attempt turned into a tape-to-tape pass for Mario Lucia in the slot who was able to bury one for his second goal of the season (Unassisted; 5:44).

    With the bingo from Lucia, there was a lot of momentum on Iowa’s side, and they were able to strike again just a little over two minutes later. Matt Caito, making his Iowa debut, threw a puck in deep for Justin Kloos to make a play on. The Lakeville native was able to get the biscuit to Carson Soucy at the point who clapped one in towards Berra.

    Sam Anas, camping out in the slot, got a great rebound opportunity and the quick hands from Potomac, Mary. were able to put away his fourth of the season to give the Wild a 2-0 lead (Soucy, Kloos; 7:57).

    But the Gulls had an answer just two minutes later.

    Svedberg had been solid all night by flashing the glove and playing the puck well outside of his crease. Unfortunately, chaos bred an opportunity to San Diego. Following a great back-check from Brennan Menell on a Julius Nattinen breakaway, Lalonde’s fourth line had a rough go of it while trying to clear the DZ.

    The Gulls were able to maintain possession in Iowa’s end for nearly a minute before a stop on a Ryan White shot rested near Svedberg’s crease for Eric Fehr. The veteran of over 550 NHL games was able to lift a backhand over Svedberg to cut Iowa’s lead in half (Dostie, White; 9:58).

    With a 2-1 lead, the second came to a close with San Diego leading in shots, 16-13.

    Third Period

    Following a Kalle Kossila hooking call late in the second, Iowa started the third period with 1:51 on the man advantage. They took little time to capitalize.

    Iowa was going with an interesting look on the power play tonight, having five forwards comprise the PP1 with Anas and Cannone at the point. With Kyle Rau screening Berra in front, a Cal O’Reilly shot from the top of the circle turned into a rebound opportunity for a crashing Kloos. It was a great put away, and Kloos has now scored in back-to-back games after a seven game goal drought (O’Reilly, Cannone; PP - 1:00).

    Nearly halfway through the third, the Wild were able to kill off their third penalty of the night, but San Diego’s pressure paid dividends. With a Steve Oleksy shot from the blue line, and with Alex Grant dropping to a knee, Fehr was able to get his second goal of the evening on another rebound (Sabourin, Oleksy; 9:25).

    Unfortunately, the Gulls weren’t done there. San Diego was able to show some solid play below the goal line of their own with some no-look passing. Mitch Hults was able to find Corey Tropp in Svedberg’s trapezoid. San Diego’s right winger found Kalle Kossila and the Finn found the back of Svedberg’s net to tie it all at three (Tropp, Hults; 11:18).

    The third came to a close as Iowa blew yet another two goal lead. San Diego held the cards in shots-on-goal after 60 minutes, 31-20.

    Free Hockey

    It was a familiar result for Iowa and a familiar name lighting the lamp as the Wild lose their third straight game in overtime.

    Iowa got the first shot attempt off in the extra frame, but a great outlet pass to rookie Giovanni Fiore turned into a great breakaway opportunity for the Gulls. Matt Caito did a terrific job back-checking Fiore, and Svedberg came out from his crease to trip up both players.

    However, White was there all by his lonesome to pick up the trash with a wide open net. The former member of the Minnesota Wild earned his second point of the night on the overtime winner.

    Parting Thoughts

    Number of the night: 3. In the loss, Iowa was able to pick up their third point in three games, but all come in overtime losses. To throw some salt in the wound, Iowa held a lead at the start of the third period in each of those contests; including a two goal lead tonight.

    There were some positives to the night, namely keeping San Diego’s power play in check as well as not playing into their more aggressive style. Plenty of face-washes were seen, but no gloves were dropped on either side.

    In coach’s words: “It was there for the taking. We got to 3-1, you could see momentum (building) and (San Diego) was flat for the next seven or eight minutes. But we had no push. All the pushing and shoving started...gave them a little life, and we got a little off task.”

    The fists weren’t flying, but the agitators on San Diego’s end were able to disrupt the Wild enough to not allow the home side to build on their lead and solidify that win. Chalk it up to mental toughness, but the result of this game might just be the wake-up Iowa needs to put together that full 60 minutes.

    The Wild will be back in action tomorrow afternoon as they host the Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit) with a twilight puck drop scheduled for 5:00 CST; the Teddy Bear Toss game.


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