Dmowski Hat Trick Sinks Heartlanders in Opener
CORALVILLE, IA – Year No. 2 began for the Heartlanders on Friday evening, but it was not as momentous as the first game in franchise history. The team earned a victory in their opening contest last season but, this year, Ryan Dmowski spoiled the show, scoring a hat trick to lead the Idaho Steelheads to a 6-2 victory. Three different players scored goals for the Heartlanders and Mitchell Balmas had two assists.
The Steelheads took control of this game early, scoring three goals in the first 13 minutes and left the first period with a 4-1 lead. A.J. White put Idaho on the board 8:17 in the first frame. Janis Svanenbergs led a 2-on-1 down the left wing and into the Iowa zone. As he moved in on Heartlanders netminder Hunter Jones, Svanenbergs made a perfect pass to White just inside the right face-off circle. He lifted a wrist shot over the shoulder of Jones to make it 1-0.
It took Idaho just 35 seconds to get back on the board. While on the power-play, Patrick Kudla made a perfect feed to Dmowski at the right face-off circle, who blasted a one-timer by Jones to extend the lead to two.
Just before the 13-minute mark, the Steelheads were back on the board. Willie Knierim passed the puck to Cody Haiskanen just below the right dot, who made a one touch pass to Jade Miller. Miller redirected the puck past Jones to make it 3-0.
Idaho was completely dominated in this contest early on, not only on the scoreboard but held an 11-1 edge over the Heartlanders in shots on goal through the first 13 minutes. However, after giving up the third goal, Iowa started to build some momentum. At 14:09, Balmas led a 2-on-1 into the Steelheads zone. He passed the puck to Matthew Boucher who nailed a one-timer by Idaho netminder Adam Scheel to cut the deficit to two.
Iowa looked like they would have some momentum heading into the first intermission, but Dmowski took it away, scoring with 45 seconds left in the period to make it 4-1. Idaho outshot Iowa in the first period, 14-7.
The Steelheads continued to put pressure on Jones in the second frame, taking 14 more shots, but Jones knocked aside all of them, giving his team an opportunity to get back in the contest. The second period was a wide-open affair with the Heartlanders putting up 16 shots of their own.
That help them score an early goal, as Kevin Conley netted a power-play tally 1:47 into the frame. Balmas passed the puck to Jake Smith at the left., who blasted a one-timer that Scheel saved. However, Conley was left alone in front of the net, knocking in the rebound to make it 4-2.
In the third, Idaho clamped down on the Heartlanders, outshooting them 14-6. They added two more goals to seal the victory. Just before the five-minute mark, Owen Headrick made a perfect homerun pass out of his zone of the boards to Colton Kehler, who beat Jones over the shoulder with a wrist shot. Dmowski finished off his hat trick with an empty net goal at 16:01, making it 6-2.
Dmowski was the only Idaho player to record more than one point. Scheel stopped 27 shots. Five different players had points for the Heartlanders. Jones stopped 36 of 41 shots.
These two teams will battle again on Saturday evening in Coralville. The puck drops at 7:05.
by Robert Pannier