MILWAUKEE – It was a historic night in Milwaukee for the Iowa Wild as goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen won his sixth straight decision to lead the Wild to a 1-0 victory over the Admirals on Friday night. Kahkonen has won his first two outings since returning from Minnesota, extending his personal winning streak to six straight games, a new franchise record. Gerry Mayhew scored the only goal of the game for Iowa.
This contest was a great goaltender’s battle from the start. The Iowa Wild outshot the Admirals in the first period, 11-9, but both goalies were up to the challenge. Milwaukee dominated the play early, but starting from about the two-minute mark, the Wild completely dominated play, recording ten straight shots over the next five minutes.
The second period was a little more wide-open, as the Admirals would even out the shots, posting 12 attempts on Kahkonen, while Iowa had ten shots on Troy Grosenick.
Iowa came out of the locker room with a little extra jump in their step and would take the first four shots of the period, but the ice appeared to tilt in favor of the Admirals as they would dominate play over much of the next 18 minutes.
However, Kahkonen was simply on fire. He made three huge saves around seven minutes into the frame, one of which came from point-blank range.
Milwaukee had a golden opportunity to take the lead at 15:19 of the first when the Admirals were awarded a penalty shot. Milwaukee forward Laurent Dauphin skated in on Kahkonen looking to find an opening to the far post, but the Iowa goaltender stoned him to keep this a scoreless tie.
As they had at the end of the first intermission, the Iowa Wild came out of the second break dominating play, taking the first five shots of the period. That would eventually result in them getting one past Grosenick.
A relentless forecheck created a turnover in the Milwaukee end. Will Bitten gained control, feeding a pass to Mayhew who was just inside the left faceoff circle. Mayhew’s sixth goal of the year was a blast going just under the glove of the Milwaukee goaltender. The score gives Mayhew ten points in only five games this season and four points in the two contests since returning from Minnesota.
Milwaukee put the pressure on looking for the equalizer. They outshot the Wild 12-4 over the final 14 minutes, including putting together a run of seven straight shots over the final five minutes of the game. Yet, they were unable to get one past the Iowa goaltender.
Kahkonen finished with 33 saves. The shutout was the seventh of his career, a franchise record.
With the victory, the Iowa Wild move to 7-1-2 on the season, the best start in franchise history. They finish off their season-long seven-game road trip on Saturday night when they travel to Rockford to take on the IceHogs. The puck drops at 6:00.