San Diego Knocks Off Iowa, 4-2
By Kevin Luckow
Special to Minor League Sports Report
DES MOINES, IA – It was easy for the playoff chase for the Iowa Wild to get buried in the Des Moines sports landscape. Caitlin Clark was leading the Iowa Hawkeyes into the Women’s National Championship game a mere half hour before the Wild were to start their game. Just down the road, the Iowa Cubs were wrapping up their opening homestand. On top of it all, Spring had made an appearance bringing 70 degree weather. Playoff weather in the eyes of the Iowa Wild, something they haven’t enjoyed since the 2018-19 season. The San Diego Gulls rained on the party though, defeating the Wild 4-2 on Sunday afternoon in front of an announced crowd of 4,310 at Wells Fargo Arena.
Iowa struck for an early goal at 4:09 of the first period. Nic Petan who had four points last night dropped a pass to the point and Ryan O’Rourke managed to sneak a shot through traffic and past Gulls goalie Calle Clang to stake the Wild to an early 1-0 lead. The goal was the first of the season for O’Rourke and his first since May 1, 2021. Tanner Kaspick gained the second assist on the goal. The Gulls pulled even at 10:07 after a Petan cross checking penalty. Glenn Gawdin connected for his second goal of the weekend and his 16th of the season from a centering pass by Michael Del Zotto. Dylan Sikura got the second assist on the power play tally.
With less than a minute left in the first period after extended time in the Gulls end, the Wild
capitalized as another defenseman, Simon Johansson put home a shot from the point for his
second goal of the season to give the Wild a 2-1 lead. Assists went to Brandon Baddock and
Mike O’Leary. For the period the Wild outshot the Gulls 11-4.
Iowa went on the power play early in the second period but it was San Diego that capitalized.
On the second two on one of the power play, Chase De Leo tied the game with his ninth goal of the season 2:37 into the period. Single assist to Del Zotto. With San Diego pressuring, Marco Rossi airmailed a clearing pass for a delay of game penalty. Late in the power play coming off a face off scrum, Benoit Olivier-Groulx found a puck on his and cashed in with his 15th goal of the season with a single assist to Gawdin to give San Diego their first lead of the weekend, 3-2. From there the Gulls were carrying play in the Wild zone. The pressure
resulted in a Wild penalty to Joe Hicketts with 6:21 left in the period, but the Wild were able to
kill it off. The Gulls took a 3-2 into the dressing room. Shots in the second period were 7-6 in
favor of the Gulls.
With the Gulls nursing the 3-2 lead in the third period, the Wild were given a chance at 8:12 on a Dylan Sikura interference penalty, but the Wild power play faltered for the second time for the day not getting a single scoring chance during the man advantage. Wild coach Tim Army in an attempt to shake up his offense bumped Rossi up to the first line with Steven Fogarty and Petan. With 2:18 left, after a faceoff scrum, both Del Zotto and Petan were given minor penalties for slashing but Petan also got a ten minute misconduct causing the Wild to lose one of their offensive weapons for the remainder of the game. San Diego chased in on the empty net with 1:33 left as Olivier-Groulx scored an empty net goal, his 16th of the season.
Although the five goal effort was not indicative of it last night, not having Sammy Walker and
Adam Beckman in the lineup today hurt the Wild offensive attack, and the Gulls were able to
limit the Wild to five shots in a third period where the Wild were needing to rally.
The Wild are back in action on Friday night at Wells Fargo Arena, taking on the Chicago Wolves
at 7 pm. Yet another big game for the Wild as the Wolves are also trying to get into a playoff
position. The two teams will also meet on Saturday night at 7 pm at Allstate Arena.
Three Stars of the Game.
1. Calle Clang. 20 saves to earn his first AHL victory.
2. Benoit Olivier-Groulx. Two goals including an empty netter
3. Glenn Gawdin. Two points including a power play goal