Duhaime Delivers OT Game-Winner for Wild, 4-3
GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Brandon Duhaime is finding his shot. After failing to record a point in his first 13 games, the Iowa Wild forward scored his second goal in as many games, this time delivering the game-winner in a 4-3 Wild overtime victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins on Saturday. The victory thwarted a Grand Rapids come back that saw the Griffins scored two goals in the final 15 minutes as they were looking for their second straight come from behind victory over the Wild.
Things got off to a great start for Grand Rapids as Kyle Crisuolo scored his seventh goal of the season 2:47 into the first period. Iowa was trying to clear the puck out of their zone by firing it along the boards, but Joe Hicketts was able to gain control, firing a shot that Crisuolo tipped past Dereck Baribeau to give the Griffins the early lead.
Grand Rapids outshot Iowa 12-6 in the first period, but it would be the Wild who came away with a 2-1 lead coming out of the frame. A little less than eight minutes after the Crisuolo tally, Matt Bartkowski scored his first goal of the season. Josh Atkinson fired a shot that was blocked by Jarid Lukosevicius, but right to Bartkowski who blasted a slapshot that beat Grand Rapids goaltender Kaden Fulcher to tie the score at one.
Less than a minute later, Iowa took the lead. A great forecheck by Jarrett Burton forced a bad turnover inside the Griffin zone. Mitch McLain moved in to gain control of the loose puck, blasting a slapshot from just above the goal line that gave Fulcher no time to react. It hit off the Grand Rapids’ goaltenders back and in for McLain’s fourth goal of the year.
Neither team was able to light the lamp in the second period, but Iowa extended their lead with their third unanswered goal 4:14 into the third. Connor Dewar won the draw deep inside the Griffin end. Mitchell Chaffee was able to gain control by kicking the puck onto his stick. He moved into the slot, firing a shot that Fulcher saved, but Dewar swooped in and fired a wrist shot over the shoulder of the Grand Rapids netminder for his 10th goal of the season.
Iowa seemed like they were in complete control but, as they had the previous night, Grand Rapids battled back, pulling back within one just 67 seconds after the Dewar goal. Givani Smith would score his fifth goal of the season, but it was the incredible play of Turner Elson that set up the tally. Elson was able to steal the puck off the stick of a Wild offender inside the Iowa zone, then swooped down looking like he was going to go behind the net. That got Baribeau shifting to his right but Elson, instead, made a beautiful backhand pass to Smith trailing the play who fired the puck in to cut the deficit to 3-2.
At the 13:39 mark, the Griffins added a power play goal to tie the score. Grand Rapids was doing a great job of moving the puck around inside the Wild zone, looking for the perfect shot. Chase Pearson received the puck near the right corner, passing it back to Riley Barber who was moving toward the right face-off circle. He fired a wrist shot that went over the shoulder of Baribeau and under the crossbar for his 13th goal of the season and suddenly the game was tied.
That sent the game to overtime where Duhaime would win it 1:56 into the extra frame. The play began when Taro Hirose made a nice move past an Iowa defender, allowing him to swoop in on Baribeau on a partial breakaway. He moved across the crease, trying to go over the goaltender’s leg pad but Baribeau made a spectacular save.
Duhaime came away with the puck going end-to-end, entering the Grand Rapids zone on a 2-on-1. Instead of passing the puck, he decided to take the shot, firing a wrist shot that beat Fulcher to the glove side with the skate-off goal, giving Iowa a 4-3 victory.
Baribeau earned the win, stopping 27 of 30 shots. Seven different Iowa players had a point in the game. Fulcher stopped 25 of 29 shots for Grand Rapids.
The Wild the return home to Des Moines on Friday when they welcome the Rockford IceHogs. The puck drops at 7:00.
By Robert Pannier