Lucchini Spurs Wild Victory in Rockford, 4-2
ROCKFORD, IL – Jake Lucchini scored two goals and the Iowa Wild scored three times in the second to defeat the Rockford IceHogs (5-4-0), 4-2. Lucchini scored the eventual game-winner. Jesper Wallstedt earned the victory, stopping 35 shots, moving the Iowa Wild (5-5-1) into second place in the Central Division.
Lucchini scored the only goal of the first frame, netting his fifth goal of the season with 1:43 left in the first period. Lucchini entered the Rockford zone, leaving a drop pass for Adam Beckman. He fired a shot that was knocked down, but Beckman quickly regained control, putting in attempt on Drew Commesso that the Rockford netminder saved. However, the rebound fell loose in the crease where Lucchini dove, knocking in the puck to make it 1-0 Wild.
The Wild continued to dominate this game early on, scoring two goals in the first 12 minutes of the second to extend their lead to three. Pavel Novak made it a 2-0 lead 2:58 into the second when he scored his first goal of the year. The play began when Joël Teasdale made a nice move just inside his own zone, breaking up in IceHogs rush. He then flipped the puck into the neutral zone where Mike O’Leary gained control, heading in toward the IceHogs netminder. The puck was knocked off his stick, but Novak gained control, firing a wrist shot that beat Commesso.
At 11:29, Lucchini tallied his second goal of the night. Greg Meireles Rockford zone, then found Lucchini at the back door. He redirected the puck in to make it 3-0 Iowa.
The Wild were rolling, but Rockford finally got on the board with a little over five minutes left in the second. With the IceHogs on the power-play, Brett Seney beat Wallstedt for his fifth goal of the season.
Iowa restored the three-goal advantage with 2:30 left in the second. This time it was Jujhar Khaira netting his first goal of the year. Sammy Walker left a drop pass for Carson Lambos, who fired a shot that Commesso knocked down, but Khaira worked his way through a Rockford defender, pushing the puck into make it 4-1.
Rockford scored the only goal of the third, cutting the deficit to two when Mike Hardman netted his second goal of the season 4:45 into the frame. However, the IceHogs would get no closer.
The Wild had 10 players who found their name onto the scoresheet.
Iowa now heads east, taking on the Chicago Wolves (1-5-2) on Saturday. The puck drops at 7:00.
by Robert Pannier