Kaczperski, Second Period Surge Propels Heartlanders
CORALVILLE, IA – The Iowa Heartlanders were looking for a big performance from someone to get them out of this six game winless streak (0-5-1) and Corbin Kaczperski delivered, stopping a season-high 38 shots in a 3-1 victory over the Indy Fuel on Saturday. Iowa erased a one-goal deficit with three unanswered tallies in the second to take control of this game. James Sanchez had two assists for the Heartlanders.
This was a wild first period that saw lots of end-to-end action. Indy 0utshot Iowa 14-12 in the frame and came away with the only goal of the period. That came at 3:39 when Cam Bakker netted his first goal of the season. Alex Wideman, who has points in seven straight games, found Bakker at the backdoor, sending a perfect pass that his teammate tucked past Kaczperski to make it 1-0.
That lead held through the first intermission, but the Heartlanders took control in the second, totally dominating the frame behind a 17-8 shot advantage. That lead to three goals and a two-goal advantage heading to the second break.
Iowa tied that score just 28 seconds into the period. With the Heartlanders on the power-play, Sanchez passed the puck to Riese Zmolek at the right faceoff circle, who lifted a wrist shot over the shoulder of Cameron Gray for his first goal of the season.
Just before the four-minute mark, the Heartlanders had their second power-play goal of the period. Michael Pastujov took a shot that was saved by Gray, but the puck was loose to the side of the net. Tommy Parrottino made a great individual effort, diving for the loose puck, knocking it toward Tyler Busch, who slammed the disc into the net for his seventh of the year.
The Heartlanders continued to pepper Gray, adding to their lead at 17:11 when Clayton Phillips scored his second goal in his second game with Iowa. Cole Stallard won the draw inside the Fuel zone to Sanchez, who fed the puck to Phillips near the blueline. He blasted a slapshot that beat the Indy netminder to make it 3-1.
The Fuel were down, but they were not going quietly, dominating the final frame as the Heartlanders were back on their heels all period long. Indy outshot Iowa 17-6 in the third, but Kaczperski was absolutely spectacular, stopping several great scoring chances, including three point blank attempts.
Kaczperski finished with 38 saves, moving to 5-3-1 since rejoining the team. He lowered his goals against average to 2.84.
The Iowa Heartlanders (7-15-8) head to the road, beginning on Wednesday, when they take on the Fuel (22-9-1) in Indianapolis. Game time is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. Iowa time.
By Robert Pannier