BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – Gerald Mayhew scored two goals and added an assist to help lead the Iowa Wild to a 5-2 victory over the Bakersfield Condors on Tuesday night. The victory gave the Wild a 3-1-1 record for their five-game road trip. Kaapo Kahkonen stopped 17 shots to earn the victory.
Iowa was coming off a tough loss in Bakersfield three nights earlier when they gave up four goals in the final frame in a 5-2 loss to the Condors. They clearly wanted to make a statement early. That statement was delivered by Luke Johnson when he scored just 53 seconds into the contest.
Brennan Menell gained control of a loose puck along the boards in the Condors end. He fired a shot that Stuart Skinner made a kick save on, but it went right to Johnson, who knocked the rebound in for his eighth goal of the year.
At the 3:13 mark, Bakersfield tied the score. With the Condors on the power play, Evan Bouchard took the puck from behind his net, cruised out of his end and through the neutral zone uncontested. He entered into the Iowa end, firing a wrist shot that beat Kahkonen just inside the far post for his seventh goal of the year.
The Wild were absolutely dominating the first period by outshooting the Condors 16-6, but looked like they would head to the first intermission tied. However, Iowa went on the power play with 1:38 left in the period, and Menell put the Wild on top 48 seconds later.
Johnson had the puck along the left boards in the Bakersfield end. He passed it across the slot to Sam Anas, who made a one-touch pass back to Menell at the point. Menell fired a blast that sailed by Skinner for his fourth goal of the year. That made it 2-1 heading into the intermission.
The Wild continued the pressure in the second period, outshooting Bakersfield 11-5. They came away with the only goal of the period, thanks to Mayhew. With a little over five minutes left in the second, Dmitry Sokolov began a rush out of his own end, hitting Mayhew just before he entered the Bakersfield end. Mayhew got about 10 feet into the zone before blasting a shot through the legs of Skinner for his 25th goal of the year.
In the third, the Wild looked to put this game away. At the 3:21 mark, Sokolov extended his team’s lead to three with his eighth goal of the year. Mayhew battled for the puck along the end boards, eventually coming away with it. He passed it to Nico Sturm near the faceoff circle, who gave it right back to Mayhew. He made the one-touch pass to Sokolov, who wristed a shot by the Condors goaltender. The beautiful passing play helped to make it 4-1.
Bakersfield cut the deficit to two by scoring their second power play goal of the game just before the 10-minute mark. Colby Cave moved down the boards in the Iowa end before dropping the puck to Markus Granlund. Cave moved into the slot awaiting the feed from Granlund for the one-timer, but he whiffed on the shot. However, the puck came right to Logan Day, who was waiting at the other faceoff circle inside the Iowa end. He blasted the one-timer, beating Kahkonen to make it a 4-2 game.
With time winding down, the Condors tried to get Skinner off the ice for the extra attacker. They were finally able to do so with about 20 seconds left in the game, but Mayhew took advantage of the opportunity, scoring the empty-net goal to seal the victory.
The two goals put him just one away from tying his single season mark of 27 he set last year. He has 26 goals in just 34 games to lead the AHL. It took Mayhew 71 games to score 27 goals last year. The three points, coupled with the Anas assist, puts the two Wild forwards atop the scoring leaders in the league with 42 points each.
Johnson, Menell, and Sokolov each finished with a goal and an assist for Iowa.
The Iowa Wild return home to take on the San Jose Barracuda on Friday night. It will be the first of 12 of the next 13 games at home for the team. The puck drops at 7:00 CST.
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