O’Brien OT Tally Sends Heartlanders to Fourth Straight Loss
St. John’s, Newfoundland – For the third straight game the Iowa Heartlanders found themselves in an extra session, but the result has been the same each time, as the team dropped their third straight overtime game and fourth straight overall, losing to the Newfoundland Growlers, 3-2. Zach O’Brien scored the game-winner 4:22 into the extra session. Hunter Jones took the loss despite stopping 27 shots.
This was a scoreless tie through the first period, as both Jones and Dryden McKay were solid between the pipes. In the second, Iowa took the first of two one goal leads in the contest. The first came just after the five-minute mark with the Heartlanders on the power-play. Brendan Less took a shot that McKay saved, but Jake Durflinger gobbled up the rebound, putting it past the Newfoundland netminder to make it 1-0.
Just over one minute later, the Growlers tied the score. It would be O’Brien scoring the first of his two tallies on the night as he netted his ninth goal of the season. This time it was Newfoundland using their special teams, as Todd Skirving passed the puck to O’Brien who beat Jones to tie the score at one.
Three minutes after Durflinger scored, Yuki Miura gave Iowa back the lead. Alec Broetzman took a shot that McKay saved, but he was able to retrieve his own rebound, pushing it toward Miura who redirected it past the Growlers goaltender for his third goal of the year.
That sent the team to the locker room with Iowa holding a one-goal lead, despite Newfoundland controlling much of the play, outshooting the Heartlanders 19-15. Iowa stepped up their game in the final frame, outshooting the Growlers, 11-5. However, it would be Newfoundland scoring the only goal of the frame. At the 6:27 mark of the period, Chris Martenet tied the score with his first goal of the year.
That sent the contest to overtime where the Growlers absolutely dominated, putting six shots on net while Iowa had none. At 4:22, with Newfoundland on the power-play, Michael Joyaux passed the puck to O’Brien, who blasted a one-timer by Jones for the game-winner. Pavel Gogolev earned his second assist of the game on the tally.
The Heartlanders have dropped four straight, but have earned points in three of those contests as the last three games have gone to overtime. The team has played eight overtime games since November 12.
The Iowa Heartlanders (4-9-6) conclude their five-game trip through Canada on Saturday when they take on the Growlers (16-5-1) again. The puck drops at 4:30.
By Robert Pannier