Maier Leads Moose Past Wild
DES MOINES, IA – Cole Maier scored two goals and added an assist to help lead the Manitoba Moose to a 5-3 victory over the Iowa Wild. Maier scored both goals in the second period, and Manitoba added three more tallies in the third. Sammy Walker made a triumphant return to Iowa, scoring for the third straight game and Joe Hicketts added two assists.
Neither team was able to find the back of the net through the first 20 minutes of the contest, but Manitoba struck 4:05 into the second. With the draw inside the Wild end, Manitoba was able to gain control the puck. Ashton Saunter moved it back to Maier at the point, who fired a wrist shot that found its way through traffic, beating Zane McIntyre for his fifth goal of the season.
Just after the 11-minute mark, the Moose were back on the board. Once again, the play began with the draw inside the Iowa end. The puck took a bad bounce right in front of the Wild net, right onto the stick of Maier, who put it past McIntyre for his second goal of the game.
Iowa cut the deficit in half with a little over four minutes left in the period, when Adam Beckman scored a power-play goal. It was a beautiful tic-tac-toe play that set up the goal, as Nic Petan fed the puck from the right face-off circle back to Hicketts at the point, who then tapped it toward Marco Rossi at the left face-off circle. He made a one touch pass into the slot to Beckman, who buried the one-timer for his eighth goal of the year.
The Wild were right back in the contest, but two goals within the first six minutes of the third period gave Manitoba a commanding lead. The first came just before the one-minute mark when Evan Polei notched his fourth goal of the season. The puck was loose in front of the Iowa goal, and Polei was able to swat at the loose puck, knocking it through the five-hole of McIntyre for his fourth goal of the season.
At 6:10, Dominic Tominato made this a three goal Moose advantage. Jeff Malott had the puck near the goal line before spotting Tominato moving down slot. He made a perfect feed out in front where Tominato was able to blast it home for his third goal of the year
Iowa cut the deficit to two when Mike O’Leary scored his fifth goal of the season at 8:44. Beckman set up the goal with a great individual effort in the neutral zone. He was able to battle for the puck through a Moose defenseman, knocking it up into the air, then knocking it down in front of him with his glove before passing it out in front to O’Leary, who simply tipped the puck past Manitoba netminder Oskari Salminen to make it 4-2.
However, the Moose extended their lead back to three when Malott scored on the power-play at 12:26. The Moose used a burst of speed to head into the Iowa zone. Declan Chisholm passed the puck down below the left face-off circle to Alex Limoges, who moved it across the slot to Malott, redirecting the puck in for his 14th goal of the year.
With a little less than three minutes left in the contest, Walker netted his 12th goal of season and fifth in his last six games. Hicketts took a shot from the point that missed the net, bouncing off the boards to the opposite side and right to Walker. The forward simply tucked it into the empty net to make it 5-3.
Iowa had a couple of great scoring chances in the final minute, including with four seconds left in the contest, but Salminen was able to preserve the two-goal advantage.
Beckman finished with a goal and an assist for Iowa. McIntyre stopped 25 of 30 shots.
The loss dropped the Wild to 11-12-4. The team is off on Thursday, but will welcome the Manitoba Moose (15-7-3) again on Friday. The puck drops at 7:00.
by Robert Pannier