Murphy, Sanchez Lead Heartlanders to Third Straight Victory
CORALVILLE, IA – The Iowa Heartlanders extended their longest winning streak of the season, reaching three straight games thanks to a pair of goals from both James Sanchez and Matt Murphy that helped the club erase a three-goal deficit in a 5-3 victory over the Kansas City Mavericks. Iowa found themselves trailing by three coming out of the first frame, but responded with five unanswered goals, including four in the final period. Trevin Kozlowski took over a little less than three minutes into the contest and was fantastic, stopping 11 of 12 shots.
Kansas City looked like they would blow the Heartlanders off the ice, scoring three goals within the first 11 minutes of the contest. The first came just 20 seconds into the game when Jeremy McKenna carried the puck into the Heartlanders end. As he reached just above the right face-off circle, he blistered a wrist shot over the shoulder of Corbin Kaczperski for his 10th goal of the year.
Just under two minutes later, the Mavericks were back on the board. Kansas City was able to maintain control the puck inside the Heartlanders zone, as the puck moved back to the point. Jake McLaughlin fired a shot that Kaczperski saved, but the puck bounced up into the air where Jake Jaremko swatted in to make it 2-0.
Just after the 11-minute mark, Kansas City extended the lead to three when Cole Coskey fifth goal of the year.
The Heartlanders were down, and this game looked like it was about to get out of control, but Iowa began to settle down, playing stronger defense and were able to stay within three over the next 20 minutes.
Finally, at the nine-minute mark of the second period, Sanchez netted his first goal of the game to begin the comeback. It was a great give and go along the boards that set up the play, as Sanchez passed the puck down to Nolan Orzeck at the half boards, who fed it back to Sanchez. He lifted a wrist shot from just above the right face-off circle over the shoulder of Callum Booth to cut the deficit to two.
The Mavericks looked like they were in good shape, as they held the two-goal advantage into the third period. However, it took just over a little more than four minutes into the final frame for the Heartlanders to erase that deficit and take the lead.
The first goal came at 2:04. Iowa won the draw back to the point where Murphy fired a shot that beat Booth for his fourth goal of the year. Seconds later, it was Murphy once again, as Jake Durflinger fed the puck back to Murphy who was moving toward the left face-off. He blasted home a shot that tied the game at three.
Iowa took the lead at 4:23. While on the power-play, the puck was moved back to Murphy at the point who passed it to Sanchez just above the left face-off circle. He turned toward the net, then fired a laser over the shoulder of Booth and into the upper corner for his second goal of the contest.
With 33 seconds left in the game, Alec Broetzman sealed the victory with his third goal of the year. Murphy finished with three points and both Durflinger and Griff Jeszka had two assists.
The Iowa Heartlanders (4-8-3) moved into a tie for sixth place with the Toledo Walleye. The Heartlanders now head across the border, beginning a two-game series against the Trois-Rivières Lions (7-8-1) starting on Friday. Face-off is 6:00 Iowa time.
by Robert Pannier