DES MOINES, IA – For 43 minutes, the Iowa Wild were the better team on the ice on Friday night. They held a 3-2 lead about seven minutes into the final period before the Texas Stars erupted for six goals in the final 13 minutes, including four in a span of less than four minutes to defeat the Wild, 8-4. Adam Mascherin led Texas with a goal and three assists and Nick Moutrey and Riley Damiani each had a pair of goals. Calen Addison had three assists for Iowa.
It had been nearly 11 months since Wild fans had seen their team take to the ice and they did not have to wait long before their team was on top. 2:39 into the first, Iowa was on the power play. Texas tried to clear the puck out of their end, but Dmitry Sokolov twice was able to keep it in the Stars zone. That proved to be huge as Connor Dewar gained control of the puck, passing it along the blue line to Sokolov. He fired a wrist shot that got through Colton Point and into the net for his first goal of the year.
The Wild held the lead for 10 minutes, until Texas tied it 13:18. Damiani had the puck at the right faceoff circle, skating away from the Iowa net, but he quickly turned and fired a wrist shot that Nick Baptiste redirected past Iowa goaltender Hunter Jones, tying the score at one.
A little less than three minutes later, the Wild retook the lead. Ian McCoshen had the puck inside his own end. He made a great pass up the boards to Joseph Cramarossa, who broke into the Stars end on a breakaway. Cramarossa sped across the crease, then tucked the backhander through the five-hole to put Iowa back on top, 2-1.
Each team netted a power play goal in the second. At 3:02, Texas won the draw in the Wild zone. Josh Melnick passed the puck to Dimiani at the left faceoff circle. He corralled the puck on his stick, then fired a blistering wrist shot that beat Hunter on the short side, once again evening the game.
Iowa retook the lead at the 16:22 mark thanks to an incredible individual effort by Dewar. Gabriel Dumont fed Dewar the puck in the neutral zone just before he entered into the Stars end. Dewar then built up a head of steam, sped through two defensemen and in on Point where he beat him glove side to make it 3-2.
To this point, the Wild were looking good. Jones was making his professional debut and he had stopped 22 shots through the first two periods. Iowa came out in the third and controlled the play early, outshooting the Stars 6-5 through the first seven minutes, despite being short-handed for two minutes during that stretch.
However, the second penalty by Mitch McLain in the period proved to be deadly. At 7:24, Adam Mascherin intercepted an attempted clearing pass by the Wild. He fired a wrist shot past Jones, giving the Stars their second power play goal of the game.
Just 17 seconds later, the Stars had their first lead of the game. Baptiste entered the Wild zone along the right boards. He made a nice pass to Damiani who was moving down the slot between two defenders. Damiani got Jones leaning to his left, then beat him with a wrist shot to the opposite post for his second goal of the game.
At 9:10, Texas was back on the scoreboard. Tye Felhaber fired a shot that Jones saved with his blocker, but the puck hit right off Nick Moutrey and into the net to put the Stars up by two.
Just before the 11-minute mark, the lead became three. Mascherin had control of the puck behind the Wild net. He fired the puck into the slot to Moutrey, who was coming off the bench. Moutrey blasted a one-timer past Jones for his second goal of the game.
The Wild had given up four unanswered goals, but they finally stopped the bleeding at the 12:15 mark. Addison fed the puck to Adam Beckman at the right faceoff circle, who fired a wrist shot in for his first professional goal, bringing the score to 6-4.
Seconds later, the Wild nearly had their second straight goal when a shot by Brandon Duhaime hit off the post but did not cross the goal line. They were battling to try to pull within two, but Texas sealed the victory when Anthony Louis scored with a little over two minutes left in the game, the third power play goal of the game for Texas. Nikita Scherbak added an empty net goal with 48 seconds left to make it 8-4.
The Stars dominated the third period beyond the score. They outshot Iowa 21-9 and added two power play goals. Texas finished 3-for-6 on the man-advantage and outshot the Wild 45-27.
These teams will be back at it on Saturday evening. The puck drops at 6:00p EST.