WINNIPEG, MB – A penalty-filled night in Manitoba nearly saw the Iowa Wild give away a two-goal lead late in the third, but Sam Anas saved the day, scoring a power-play goal with a little over five minutes left to give the Wild a 6-4 victory over the Moose. The goal was the 132nd point in Sam Anas’ career, tying the franchise record for points. Nine players scored their first goal of the year in the contest.
Things did not start well for the Iowa Wild as Johnathan Kovacevic would give the Manitoba Moose a 1-0 lead just 64 seconds into the contest. Kovacevic took a Seth Griffith pass, then skated in to just inside the right faceoff circle before firing a shot that beat Kaapo Kahkonen for his first goal of the year.
The Moose killed off two early penalties, but the third allowed Iowa to earn the equalizer. Matt Bartkowski passed the puck across the blueline to Louie Belpido, who skated in about 10 feet before blasting a slapshot that beat Mikhail Berdin on the short side, tying the score at one.
Despite giving up the tying goal. Berdin looked outstanding in the first, stopping 16 of 17 shots he faced and holding the Wild to one goal despite Iowa having five power-play opportunities, including a 5-on-3 for 50 seconds. There were 14 penalties called in the first period.
At 2:02 of the second, JC Lipon scored his first goal of the season to give Manitoba back the lead. Skyler McKenzie’s shot was saved, but the puck came right to Lipon, who tucked in it past Kahkonen to make it 2-1.
Once again, the Wild would respond. Three minutes later, Matt Register scored the first goal of his AHL career. Sam Anas’ shot was saved, but Register put in the rebound to tie the score at two.
The night of firsts continued when Kyle Rau scored his first goal of the season with a little less than seven minutes left in the second. With the puck loose in front of the Manitoba net, Rau gained control, then shifted to his right before blasting the puck past Berdin to give the Wild their first lead of the game.
Iowa extended its lead to 4-2 five minutes into the third. Berdin stopped Belpido’s shot from the top of the slot, but the puck trickled through his pads, sliding behind him. Brennan Menell swept in, quickly putting the loose puck into the net for his first goal of the year.
The Moose appeared to be back on their heels, but they would take control of this contest with a pair of goals three minutes apart. At 6:34, and with Manitoba on the power play, Andrei Chibisov made a great pass across the cross to Michael Spacek, who buried the one-timer for his first goal of the year. Three minutes later, C.J. Suess netted his first of the year, and the score was suddenly tied to at four. Griffith assisted on both those goals giving him three assists for the night.
The Iowa Wild showed no panic. With about six minutes left in the game, Manitoba would take their 15th penalty of the game, and the Wild would capitalize. Mennell fired a pass across to Anas, who fired a wrist shot to the short side that found the back of the net. It was his first goal of the season and would prove to the game-winner. It also tied him for the most points in franchise history.
With 1:02 left in the game and the Berdin on the bench for the extra attacker, J.T. Brown added the empty-net goal to seal the victory. Ironically, the goal was the second of the year for Brown, the only player to score a goal who had a previous tally entering the contest.
Kahkonen stopped 28 shots to move to 4-0-0 on the season. The Wild took ten penalties as the Moose went 1-5 on the power-play. Iowa was 3-10 with the man advantage. Sam Anas and Louie Belpido each had a goal and an assist for the Wild. Colton Beck had two assists.
The Iowa Wild (4-0-1) continue their series against the Manitoba Moose (1-4-0) tonight. Game time is scheduled for 6:00.
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