Third Period Surge Sends Wild to Fifth Straight Victory, 5-4
DES MOINES, IA – The Iowa Wild found themselves trailing by a goal entering the third period on Friday night, but tallies by Adam Beckman and Brandon Duhaime helped Iowa gain the lead over the Texas Stars on their way to a 5-4 victory. Duhaime finished with three points and three other players had two for the Wild, who won their fifth game in a row. Hunter Jones stopped 19 of 23 shots for the victory.
Texas struck first, scoring 6:19 into the first period. Mavrik Bourque had the puck down in the corner inside the Iowa end. He fed it back to the point to Ben Gleason, who dished it across the blueline to Thomas Harley. Harley fired a wrist shot that found the bottom corner of the net for his sixth the goal of the year.
The Stars held onto the one goal lead for about six minutes before Mason Shaw tied it with his seventh goal of the year. A beautiful play by Matt Boldy set up the tally. Calen Addison gave the puck to Boldy in the high slot. He weaved through two defensemen before firing a shot that Texas netminder Adam Scheel made a nice blocker save on, but the rebound came right to Shaw who blasted it home.
In the second, Anthony Louis put Texas back on top 3:38 into the frame. A beautiful tic-tac-toe play set up the goal. Riley Damiani had control of the puck in the corner in the Wild zone. He fed it to Borque who was moving down the slot toward the goal. Borque simply tapped a backhander to Louis at the back door, who fired a one-timer by Jones for his 11th tally of the season.
The lead held for a little less than four minutes before Will Bitten tied the score with his seventh goal of the season. The play was set up when Texas tried to clear the puck out of their own zone, but Addison was able to keep it in at the blueline. He fired a shot that was not down in front, but right to Connor Dewar. Dewar fired a wrist shot that Scheel knocked down in front, creating a scramble for the puck where Bitten was able to knock it in to tie the score at two.
Just 64 seconds later, Duhaime scored his first goal of the game to give the Wild their first lead of the contest. A great feed by Boldy set up the goal. Shaw had the puck down along the end boards, passing it to Duhaime at the right face-off circle. He passed it across the slot to Boldy just inside the left face-off circle, who fed it back to Duhaime. The Iowa forward quickly gained control of the puck before firing a wrist shot into the upper corner for his fifth goal of the season.
The ice had tilted Iowa’s way, but that changed at the 11-minute mark when the Stars tied the score at three. Louis fired a shot from the point that Jones saved, but the rebound deflected to the opposite side of the net where Cole Schneider was standing alone. He simply knocked the backhander into the goal for his 11th tally of the season.
Two minutes later, the Stars regained the lead on Harley’s second goal of the contest. The Wild were attempting to clear the puck out of their zone along the boards, but Borque intercepted the attempt, passing the puck across the blueline to Harley, who fired a wrist shot that beat Jones to the blocker side. For Borque it was his third assist of the game.
Iowa was trailing by a goal entering the third period, but tied the score at the 5:21 mark on a goal by Beckman. Louie Belpedio went D-to-D along the blueline to Beckman. He moved in to just above the left face-off circle before firing a wrist shot that deflected off the state of a Stars player and in between the legs of Scheel to tie the score at four.
It did not remain that way for long, however, as Duhaime gave Iowa the lead for good a little over three minutes later. Off the face-off inside the Texas zone, Gabriel Dumont won the draw directly behind him. Duhaime quickly swept in, firing a blistering wrist shot that Scheel never saw.
Texas tried to mount a rally in the waning minutes of the contest but was having no success in generating any kind of offense. The Wild outshot the Stars in the third period, 17-5, finishing the game with a 43-23 shot advantage.
Duhaime finished with two goals and an assist. Shaw had a goal and an assist as well for Iowa. Both Boldy and Addison had two assists for the Wild.
Borque had three assists for the Stars. Harley had two goals and Louis finished with a goal and assist.
These two teams will close out the 2020-21 season on Saturday night. The puck drops at 6:00.
By Robert Pannier