Ronning Hat Trick Spurs Wild to Late Morning Victory
DES MOINES, IA – It was a late morning affair in Des Moines for the Iowa Wild and Grand Rapids Griffins on Thursday, but Ty Ronning definitely woke up on the right side of the bed, scoring a natural hat trick, his first three goals of the season, to lead the Wild to a 6-3 victory over Grand Rapids. Ronning had been held scoreless through the first five games of the season, but delivered two power-play goals and a shorthanded tally. Zane McIntyre made 23 saves and Dakota Mermis, Joseph Cramarossa, and Sammy Walker each had two assists for Iowa.
Things got off to a great start for the Wild, as Ronning delivered a power-play goal 4:09 into the game. Mermis made a pass to Cramarossa along the half boards. He corralled the puck onto a stick before sending a perfect cross ice feed to Ronning, who drilled a one-timer past Jussi Olkinuora to make it 1-0. It was the first goal for Ronning in a Wild uniform area
Iowa held the one goal lead through the end of the first frame, but began to pour it on early in the second when Ronning netted his second and third tallies of the season less than five minutes into the period. At 1:45, with the Wild back on the power-play, the team created a near carbon-copy of the first goal, as Cramarossa fed Ronning at the right face-off circle, who lifted a shot past the Griffins netminder to make it 2-0.
Almost exactly 3 minutes later, the lead became three. With Iowa shorthanded, the Wild won the draw in their own end, speeding out of their own zone. Adam Beckman crossed the blueline, dropping the puck off for Ronning, who drilled a shot off the pad of Olkinuora and in to make it 3-0. It was the first hat trick of his AHL career.
Grand Rapids was in jeopardy of being blown out in this contest, but cut the deficit to two at 8:30. Iowa was trying to clear the puck out of their own zone, but the clearing attempt went right onto the stick of Simon Edvinsson. He fed Cross Hanas. He beat McIntyre with a wrist shot for his fourth goal of the year.
Exactly 3 minutes later, Iowa restored the three-goal lead when Beckman scored his third goal of the year. Sammy Walker did a great job of carrying the puck through traffic, while still maintaining control. He moved toward the right face-off circle before spinning back to feed a backhander to Beckman in the slot, who lifted a wrist shot over Olkinuora to make it 4-1.
That would be the score heading into the third period, and Mitchell Chaffee made it a four-goal advantage when he scored a little over four minutes into the final frame. Andrej Šustr moved the puck ahead to Walker who sped into the Grand Rapids zone before making a drop pass to Chaffee. He blasted a shot that found the upper corner of the net for his first goal of the year.
Grand Rapids responded with back-to-back goals. The first came off the stick of Jonatan Berggren at 6:57 when he netted a power-play goal to make it 5-2. At 15:15, it was Berggren netting his second power-play goal of the contest.
Suddenly, Grand Rapids was back in the contest. However, an empty net goal by Simon Johansson with a little under three minutes left in the contest sealed the victory.
The win was the first home victory of the season for the Wild, who now moved to 2-3-2, moving out of last place in the Central Division. Grand Rapids dropped to 4-4-0. These two teams will square off again on Friday. The puck drops at 7:00.
by Robert Pannier