DES MOINES, Iowa – It may be just six games in the professional career of Mat Robson, but the young man is making his mark. Robson stopped 17 shots on Sunday afternoon to lead the Iowa Wild to a 3-0 victory over the Ontario Reign. Cody McLeod also scored his first goal of the season as the Wild outshot Ontario, 42-17.
The Wild took the lead 2:19 into the contest. The Reign were trying to clear the puck around the boards behind the net, but it came right to McLeod. He gained control and moved quickly to the corner of the net, stuffing the puck in on the short side for his first of the season.
Iowa continued to control big chunks of time in the first period, as their forecheck made it difficult for Ontario to get the puck out of their end. That helped the Wild to a 14-9 edge in shots coming out of the first, including recording the final four shots of the period.
The Wild came out of the first break with the same intensity, and it would result in their second goal of the game 2:29 into the frame. Brennan Menell carried the puck into the Ontario end on a 2-on-1 break. He fed Nico Sturm, who fired a nice wrist shot to the far corner over the shoulder of Ontario goaltender Cal Peterson for his fourth goal of the year.
The Wild would add to their lead 10 minutes later thanks to a great individual play by Gerald Mayhew. With the Reign on the power play, Louie Belpedio passed the puck to Mayhew out in front of the Iowa net. He then went coast-to-coast, taking the puck into the Ontario end before beating Peterson over the shoulder for his eighth goal of the year. That made it 3-0.
The Wild outshot Ontario 19-4 in the second, and that tenacity continued into the third. The Reign would record just four shots in each of the final two periods as the trapping defense of Iowa simply did not allow the Reign to move the puck and set up plays.
This continued into the penalty killing units, which held Ontario to 0-7 on the night. The Reign even had a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:14 in the first period, but came away with just three shots on net. Ontario recorded five total shots on net during their power play opportunities.
While the Reign were held to 17 shots, they could have had 100 against Robson and not come away with a goal. The Wild netminder was absolutely brilliant all night, making a handful of great saves while denying the Reign any rebound opportunities. He was absolutely brilliant in recording the first shutout of his professional career.
The victory moved the Iowa Wild (8-3-3) back into first place in the Central Division, two points ahead of Milwaukee. The Wild head to the road to take on the Chicago Wolves for a pair of games starting on Saturday night. The opening faceoff is scheduled for 7:00 P.M. CST.
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