Wild Finish Off Sweep of Barracuda in San Jose
SAN JOSE, CA – It may have been a change of scenery that was all the Iowa Wild needed, as they completed a two-game sweep in San Jose, defeating the Barracuda on Wednesday, 5-3. The team had been 1-3-1 in their previous five games but opened Wednesday night’s contest with three unanswered tallies on their way to the victory. Adam Beckman, Sammy Walker, Joe Hicketts, and Steven Fogarty each had two points for the Wild.
Iowa jumped out in front, taking a two-goal lead into the first intermission. The first goal came at 14:49 with the Wild on the power-play. Iowa was doing a great job of moving the puck around inside the San Jose zone before Hicketts found Walker near the right face-off circle. He lifted a wrist shot over the shoulder of Barracuda netminder Eetua Makiniemi to make it 1-0.
A little over three minutes later it was San Jose on the power-play, but it would be the Wild scoring a shorthanded goal thanks to Joseph Cramarossa. Michael Rossi cleared the puck out of the Iowa end and Cramarossa did the rest, quickly splitting two San Jose defenders, sending himself in a breakaway. As he approached Makiniemi, he beat the Barracuda netminder with a backhander to make it 2-0.
Special teams were fantastic for the Wild on this night, as they added another power-play goal at the 5:43 mark of the second period. This time it was Hicketts feeding Fogarty at the right face-off circle, who fired a shot that found its way through traffic and in for his fifth goal of the year.
Iowa was in complete command of this contest, but the Barracuda took advantage of a power-play opportunity just before the 10-minute mark of the second to cut the deficit to two. Thomas Bordeleau took a passion near the net and buried it for his ninth goal of the year.
The two-goal advantage held for the Wild into the final frame, and Mike O’Leary extended the lead back to three 2:36 into the third. Ty Ronning fired a shot that Makiniemi saved, but O’Leary put in the rebound to make it 4-1.
The Barracuda responded, scoring over a little over a minute later when Danil Gushchin netted his fifth goal of the season to make it a two-goal game once again. William Eklund then cut the deficit to one with a little over eight minutes left when he scored his fifth goal of the season, burying a one-timer.
San Jose looked like they had Iowa back on their heels, outshooting the Wild 14-4 in the third period, but the Wild were able to seal the victory when Beckman tallied an empty net goal with 23 seconds left in the game. It was his fourth goal of the year.
Beckman, Walker, and Fogarty each finished with a goal and an assist. Hicketts had two assists. Jesper Wallstedt (4-3-3) stopped 31 shots to earn the victory. The Wild finish 2-6 on the power-play.
The Wild (8-6-4) return home where they will welcome the Chicago Wolves (5-9-2) on Saturday. Face-off is scheduled for 6:00.
by Robert Pannier