Swaney Nets Two as Wild Complete Weekend Sweep, 5-2
DES MOINES, IA – For the second straight night, the Iowa Wild scored three unanswered goals, this time at the start of the contest, helping the team to a 5-2 victory over the Rockford IceHogs. Nick Swaney, who scored two goals in Friday night’s victory, scored the first two goals of the game to help lead Iowa. The victory gave the Wild a sweep of their weekend series against Rockford.
The Wild used the special-teams to jump out to the lead, as Swaney scored power-play and shorthanded goals to give his team the two-goal lead less than 12 minutes into the contest. The first came 1:11 into the contest with Iowa on the power-play. Mitchell Chaffee moved the puck back to Swaney at the point, who quickly moved down the slot before firing a shot that Rockford goaltender Collin Delia got a piece of, but it slipped through him and in for the third goal of the season for Swaney.
Almost exactly 10 minutes later the Wild forward extended the lead to two. This time it was Rockford on the power play, but Turner Ottenbreit gained control of the puck, lofting it into the neutral zone. Cody McLeod gained control of the puck, moving into the IceHogs zone on a 2-on-1 break. The Rockford defender laid down trying to clog the passing lane, but McLeod patiently waited for the sliding IceHogs defenseman to get by him before making a perfect pass across the crease to Swaney, who tucked the puck past Delia to give Iowa a 2-0 lead.
The Wild would extend their lead to three, thanks to a Mason Shaw goal 1:28 into the second frame. Will Bitten was battling along the boards with two IceHogs players, eventually coming away with the puck. He fired a pass across the slot to Shaw, who gained control the puck before firing a wrist shot over the shoulder of the Rockford goaltender for his first goal of the season.
The IceHogs were being completely outplayed through the first 25 minutes of this game, but Alexander Nylander gave them new life with his third goal of the season, three minutes after the Shaw tally. Lukas Reichel fed the puck ahead to Nylander who fired a wrist shot that beat Iowa goaltender Dereck Baribeau for his third goal of the year.
The IceHogs had new life, but a power-play goal by Kyle Rau put Iowa back on top by three just before the eight-minute mark of the period. Shaw led a rush through the neutral zone and into the Rockford end. He passed the puck along the boards to Swaney, who waited for Rau to crash the net before delivering a perfect feed. Rau directed the puck passed Delia for his second goal of the season.
Rockford got that goal back almost exactly 3 minutes later when Jakub Pour scored his second goal in as many nights. However, Adam Beckman added a power-play goal with just under three minutes left in the second to close out the scoring. That gave Iowa two power-play goals in their three opportunities.
Swaney led the way with two goals and an assist. Beckman had a goal and a helper, as did Shaw. Baribeau stopped 21 of 23 shots to earn his first victory of the season.
The Wild (3-1-0) take to the ice again next Saturday when they travel north of the border to take on the Manitoba Moose. The puck drops at 2:00 p.m.
By Robert Pannier