CHICAGO, Ill. – They say that it is important to make a good first impression, and Robbie Beydoun did just that on Saturday evening, stopping 25 of 27 shots in his first professional start, leading the Iowa Wild to a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Wolves. The University of Wisconsin graduate got plenty of support, as five different Wild players scored goals, and both Gabriel Dumont and Calen Addison had two assists for the team.
The Wild made sure that it would be a winning night for their new goaltender, as Will Bitten gave Iowa the lead 30 seconds into the contest. A terrible turnover inside the Chicago zone put the puck right on the stick of Dumont. He moved in on Connor Ingram, looking to put the backhander inside the far post. However, Ingram was able to make the save. The rebound came right out to Brandon Duhaime, who could not get a shot off, but Bitten was able to swoop in and fire in a wrist shot for his fourth goal of the season to give Iowa a 1-0 lead.
Just after the 16-minute mark, the Wolves tied the score on a power-play goal. David Warsofsky fed the puck to Dominik Bokk just before he crossed into the Iowa zone. Bokk made a nice move to weave his way through two Wild defenders, then went to his backhand, tucking the puck just under the crossbar for his eighth goal of the year.
The Wolves elation was short-lived, as Mitch McLain put the Wild back on top 78 seconds after the Bokk goal. Jarrett Burton won the draw to Nick Swaney inside the Chicago zone. He moved to just below the right face-off circle before firing a shot that McLain deflected past Ingram for his fifth goal of the season, putting Iowa on top for good.
The Wild had been outshot in the first period, 12-10, but dominated in the second, outshooting Chicago 23-8. That helped the team score 3 goals. The first came at 5:25, when Matt Boldy scored his fourth goal since joining the Wild. Ryan O’Rourke knocked down a shot attempt inside his own zone, then led a 4-on-2 break through the neutral zone and into the Chicago end. He passed the puck to Mason Shaw, who fired a shot that got knocked down in front of the net, but Boldy was able to knock in the loose puck to put Iowa on top, 3-1.
Just before the nine-minute mark, David Gust cut the Wolves deficit back to one. Marc Del Gaizo fired a shot that Beydoun saved, but the rebound came to the opposite side of the crease where Gust was standing alone. He was able to tuck the puck into the net for his first goal of the season.
From there, it was all Iowa Wild. Just before the 11-minute mark, Burton added his fourth goal of the season. Ingram saved the initial shot by Keaton Thompson, but the puck was loose in front of the net. A mad scramble ensued, where Burton was able to tuck the puck past the Wolves netminder to extend the lead back to two.
At the 16:53 mark, the Wild gave their goaltender a three-goal advantage. Addison made a great pass across the slot to Dumont at the left face-off circle. He blasted a one-timer that missed on the short side, but the rebound deflected off the boards and right to Duhaime on the opposite side of the net. He corralled the puck, then tucked it inside the right post for his fourth goal of the year, the fourth player in the game to score their fourth tally of the season. That made it 5-2, which would be the final.
The Wild continued to dominate the third, outshooting the Wolves, 15-7. However, neither team could find the back of the net. Beydoun continued to shine in his debut, finishing with 25 saves. Duhaime and Burton each had a goal and an assist for the Wild.
After his debut, Beydoun was released from his PTO and will return to the ECHL’s Fort Wayne Komets.
The Iowa Wild (13-12-4) return home on Friday, where they will take on the Rockford IceHogs (10-15-1). The puck drops at 7:00.