DES MOINES, Iowa – The Iowa Wild remained red hot Friday night, dominating the Rockford IceHogs in a 5-1 victory. Gerald Mayhew and Nico Sturm each scored two goals. The two goals allowed Mayhew to reach the 20-goal mark faster than any player in team history. The Wild have now won six of their last seven games, moving them six points ahead of the Chicago Wolves for second place in the Central Division.
The Iowa Wild jumped out to an early 2-0 lead thanks to two power play goals by Mayhew. The first came just 89 seconds into the game, with Iowa using a setup that has been pure gold for them all season long. Sam Anas had the puck along the boards, passing it to Kyle Rau just to the side of the Rockford net. Rau made the quick one-touch pass to Mayhew, who blasted the one-timer from the slot for his 20th goal of the season.
Mayhew’s 20th goal came in just 29 games, shattering the franchise record set by Anas in 2017-18 when he reached the milestone in 49 games. It also extended Mayhew’s point streak to seven straight games.
A little less than seven minutes later, the trio combined again to give their team a 2-0 lead. Iowa looked like they would use the exact same play as Anas passed the puck down low to Rau, but this time he went for the quick shot, trying to wrap the puck around Rockford goaltender Kevin Lankinen. Lankinen was able to make the save, but the puck was loose at the corner of the net. Mayhew was Johnny-on-the-spot, knocking it in for his second goal of the game.
With 1:37 left in the first period, it was Sturm’s turn. Keaton Thompson fired a shot from the point that went wide of the net and up along the boards. Mayhew quickly retrieved it near the IceHogs blueline. He turned and fired a wrist shot that Sturm deflected toward the bottom corner and in for his eighth goal of the year. That made it 3-0, which would be the score heading to the first intermission.
In the second, Sturm added to the lead with his second goal of the contest 2:20 into the frame. Mayhew passed the puck through the neutral zone to Sturm just as he was entering the Rockford end. He got past his defender, moving in alone before putting the shot five hole through the IceHogs netminder for his ninth of the year. Mayhew added his second assist of the game, giving him four points in the contest for a personal single-game high.
The early goal continued to be the story for the Wild into the third. Just 52 seconds into the period, Iowa was on a 5-on-3 advantage. Anas passed the puck to Luke Johnson at the point. He skated toward the slot, then moved in about 15 feet from the goal before firing a wrist shot that found the lower corner of the net. The helper gave Anas 100 career assists with the Wild.
For nearly 50 minutes, Kaapo Kahkonen had been unbeatable. He stopped the first 23 shots he faced, but Rockford ended the shutout bid at 9:01 of the third. With the IceHogs on the man advantage, Joseph Cramarossa passed the puck to the backdoor where Dylan McLaughlin tucked it in for his first professional goal. That made it 5-1, which would be the final.
The Wild finished 3-for-6 on the power play, making them 7-for-10 with the man advantage over the last two games and 10-for-18 in the last four contests. Kahkonen finished with 29 saves.
The Iowa Wild begin a five-game road trip on Saturday, traveling to Chicago to take on the Wolves. The opening faceoff is scheduled for 7:05pm CST.
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