Makiniemi Corrals Wild in Wolves Win, 2-1
DES MOINES, IA – Eetu Makiniemi stopped 23 shots as the Chicago Wolves rallied for a 2-1 victory over the Iowa Wild on Saturday evening. Chicago trailed by a goal coming out of the first period, but tallies by Maxim Letunov and Jack Drury enabled the Wolves to rally to earn the victory. That spoiled an outstanding performance by Hunter Jones, who stopped 30 shots in his first start since returning to the Wild.
The Wild jumped out in front thanks to a power-play goal by Matt Boldy 13:29 into the contest. With Iowa on a 5-on-3 power-play, Mason Shaw passed the puck to Joe Hicketts at the right face-off circle. Hicketts paused for a moment, then made a perfect pass across the slot to Boldy at the back door, who fired a wrist shot past Makiniemi for his fourth goal of the year.
Iowa held the one goal lead heading in the first intermission, but the Wolves tied the score 6:25 into the second. Dominik Bokk passed the puck ahead to Letunov as he was moving toward the net. When Letunov got a few feet away, he fired a wrist shot that beat Jones for his sixth goal of the season.
The Wolves had dominated the second frame, outshooting the Wild 12-4, and continued the pressure into the third, scoring just 47 seconds into the period. Andrew Poturalski passed the puck across to the left face-off circle to Drury, who blasted a one-timer by Jones for his third goal of the year. That put Chicago on top, 2-1.
Iowa tried to get the equalizer, dominating the final six minutes of this contest, including taking the final eight shots of the contest. With 32 seconds left in the contest, Shaw fired a shot that was knocked down in front, but went right onto the stick of Kyle Rau who put a point-blank attempt in on Makiniemi. The Wills goaltender made the save, but the puck came right back to Rau, who had two more attempts to whack at the puck trying to get it past Makiniemi, but the Chicago netminder was eventually able to cover the puck to preserve the one-goal victory.
Makiniemi moved to 8-2-1 with the win. He lowered his goals-against average to 2.09. Jones was impressive in making his first start since returning to Iowa.
These teams will play again on Sunday afternoon at Wells Fargo Arena. Opening face-off is set for 3:00.
By Robert Pannier