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  • Turnovers do Iowa in, Rampage take game two, 4-2


    With the momentum of a comeback win on your side, you’d have hope the Iowa Wild would come out with some zest to start the second half of their back to back against San Antonio. Unfortunately, early miscues allowed the Rampage to retain any positive vibes as the Wild dropped this one, 4-2 tonight.

    Niklas Svedberg (3-6-1, 2.84 GAA/.904 SV%) made his tenth start in nine games for the Wild, and Lalonde let him get his minutes. After allowing three goals in San Antonio’s first seven shot attempts, he did buckle down and stopped the final 14 to end the game. Ville Husso (3-1-0, 2.52 GAA/.918 SV%) got the start on the opposite end of the ice, fresh off his call-up with the St. Louis Blues. The Helsinki native stopped 11 of 13 shots from the Wild.

    Turnover Machine

    After the momentum from last night, you’d hope that Iowa could’ve carried it into the first period tonight. Though the period ended with shots on goal knotted up at 5 apiece, it was San Antonio who led in goals, 2-0.

    With Iowa’s penalty killing unit in the waning seconds of a Mario Lucia slash, defenseman Zach Palmquist wasn’t quite able to get control of a puck in his own zone. The turnover ended up on the stick of Nicolas Meloche who threw one at the net. After a Svedberg rebound opportunity, centerman Felix Girard was able to pick up the trash and give the Rampage the 1-0 lead (Meloche, Butler; 4:35).

    It wasn’t counted on the penalty kill, but Lucia was left pretty helpless in defense just having stepped out of the box.

    San Antonio’s second goal was just as unfortunate. With a scrum in the front of Svedberg’s crease, Ryan Murphy dropped to his knees while battling with Joe Colborne. A clearing attempt by Murphy had very little power behind it slid ever so nicely to a trailing Julien Nantel in the slot. With the gift, the Laval, P.Q., native was able to tally his first goal of the season (Petryk, Meloche; 15:32)

    Iowa had a few opportunities, on special teams and on even strength. Several passes slid gracefully through the crease, but no sticks were there to send them home. The power play had a great set up in front of the net, but the special teams group wasn’t able to garner any shots with the advantage.

    The second period was much more eventful than the first, but only if you’re rooting for dropped gloves and jostled teeth.

    Sloppy Second

    With Iowa getting very little going on offense, Jordan Schmaltz committed a hooking penalty that put Iowa back on the advantage; looking for redemption from the 0 shot opportunity in the first. In terms of SOG, it wasn’t pretty, but the power play unit was effective, nonetheless.

    With the clock draining on the man advantage, one of those aforementioned passes across the slot finally turned into a goal. Kloos made a great feed and Alex Grant was there to get it past Husso to cut the lead in half (Kloos, Mitchell; PP - 3:52).

    The unfortunate news in all of this is that it was Iowa’s only shot of the period.

    San Antonio had an answer just a shade over two minutes later. Once again, with traffic in front of Svedberg, Rampage winger Alex Belzile kept his shot low enough for Dominic Toninato to redirect it with his blade and into the back of the net for the 3-1 lead on just seven shots (Belzile, Geersten; 6:00).

    The liveliest member of the Wild in the second was pugilist Kurtis Gabriel, who popped Klim Kostin in the mouth and then dropped mitts with Duncan Siemens. Iowa’s big man landed a huge left on Siemens, who was without his bucket, dropping the former top-15 pick from Sherwood Park, Alta.

    The Wild needed to get out of the period badly, but before the horn sounded, Iowa was able to commit a delay of game penalty by Kyle Bonis and Brennan Menell was later called for a hook.

    San Antonio ended the period on a 5-on-3 advantage, as well as leads in shots at 13-6, and more importantly goals, 3-1.

    Some fight, but not enough

    In following what was one of Iowa’s worst periods of the season, there was nowhere to go but up. It still looked awfully messy.

    Within the first ten minutes, Iowa saw their second 5-on-3 penalty kill of the night, but once again Iowa’s penalty kill proved to be their best attribute, giving up no goals once again. Hats off to the PK.

    Despite the lack of opportunities, Iowa was able to show some bite. Colton Beck lost the puck on a zone entry, but a failed clearing attempt from Klim Kostin put the puck on the stick of Sam Anas. One of the more gifted puck handlers, the Potomac, Md., native had an audience of five black sweaters around him as he made a couple of dekes and finished past the upheld glove of Husso (Beck, Palmquist; 13:53).

    Playing from behind, Iowa did reach their highest shot total of the game with seven third period shots, but with Svedberg pulled with a minutes to play, Trent Vogelhuber was able to turn the knife as he popped the water bottle; his second attempt at the empty net (Musil; EN - 19:57).

    San Antonio got the chances early, and Iowa was only able to play catch-up as this one ended 4-2.

    Final thoughts

    Number of the night: 1. I know that most of my numbers from the night are low, but this one feels the lowest. It was an efficient one shot, but it was the only shot of the second period and the only shot Iowa was able to muster in their three power play opportunities on the evening. Good news it that it was a goal, bad news was that the second period yielded the Wild’s worst period to date in terms of shots on goal.

    In Coach Lalonde’s words: “We just lacked some energy the whole time. It was unfortunate that we gave them easy offense. [All three goals] were self-inflicted turnovers.”

    In terms of positives, Lalonde pointed to the team’s fight, though it came too late. The penalty kill was phenomenal, but you don’t want to be leaning too heavily on that unit being the feather in your cap when the offense isn’t coming.

    “We almost spent five full minutes, three-vs-five [these last two games],” coach explained. “It just zaps you physically and emotionally. Positives are tough [to point out].”

    There will be a lot to think about over the next few days, and a lot to work on at practice. The Wild won’t play until next Thursday, when the Rockford IceHogs return to Wells Fargo following their loss in Milwaukee; 3-1. It’ll be a 10:30 am puck drop for their annual “School Day” game.

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