McIntyre Blanks Griffins, Rau with Three Assists, 4-0
GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Zane McIntyre continues to be a real find for Iowa Wild Coach Tim Army, stopping all 40 shots he faced to lead the Wild to a 4-0 victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins on Friday. The outing moved McIntyre to 9-6-2 with a 2.24 goals-against average and a .925 in his 17 appearances since joining the team. The victory was his first shutout in an Iowa uniform. Kyle Rau had three assists and Nick Swaney, Joe Hicketts, and Victor Rask each had two points.
The Wild took the lead 6:41 into the contest. With Iowa on the power-play, Hicketts moved the puck across the blueline to Marco Rossi, who lifted a wrist shot that beat Griffins netminder Calvin Pickard to make it 1-0. It was the 16th goal of the season by Rossi.
With a little over two minutes left in the first, Mitchell Chaffee extended the lead to two. It was a great tic-tac-toe play that set this up, as Rask quickly moved the puck to Rau, who made a one-touch pass to Chaffee. He then quickly took a shot that went past Pickard for his 12th goal.
The late goal was the theme of this game for the Wild. They were held off the board for the first 18 minutes of the second period, but Hicketts scored with 1:20 left in the second. Swaney got the play started when his shot rang off the post and went right to Hicketts, who blasted in the rebound for his eighth tally of the year.
The 3-0 lead held until there was 2:02 left in the contest. With Grand Rapids on a 5-on-3 power-play and Pickard on the bench for the extra attacker, Rau intercepted a pass and found Swaney who was coming out of the penalty box. He easily put the puck in the empty-net for his 10th goal of the year.
Rau now has 37 points in 37 games. He recorded three points for the second straight game. Hicketts and Swaney each had a goal and an assist. Rask recorded two assists and now has five points in his three games since joining the Wild.
These teams will go at it again on Saturday evening in Grand Rapids. The puck drops at 6:00 Iowa time.
By Robert Pannier