Iowa Wild Lose Fifth Straight


Friday night saw the Iowa Wild hosting the Hamilton Bulldogs in the second night of a three-in-three for Iowa. The game was the first game back in Des Moines for former Wild forward and Bulldog alternate captain Jake Dowell, who was not offered a contract extension over the summer.

A large swath of the game was a goaltending battle between the Wild’s Darcy Kuemper — being given the chance to bounce back after getting pulled for allowing five goals in 40 minutes Thursday night — and Hamilton netminder Mike Condon. Kuemper stopped 18 shots and Condon stopped 21 through the first 40 minutes of play. Neither allowed a goal.

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The scoring didn’t open until nearly half way through the third when rookie defenseman Guillaume Gelinas scored his first professional goal.

It was a relief to the Wild who had been peppering Condon in the third — ultimately outshooting Hamilton 17-11 in the final frame. It was also surely a huge relief for Gelinas, who was signed as an undrafted free agent over the summer because of his offensive prowess. He potted 23 goals in 67 games last season in the QMJHL, adding 69 assists for an average of 1.37 points per game. This season he’s up one goal and two assists through his first 34 games.

Gelinas had what I’ll call “excited face” after he scored.

Gelina led the team with seven shots in the game, followed by Tyler Graovac, who had six shots.

However, the Iowa lead lasted less than five minutes. T.J. Hensick scored on a Hamilton power play caused by a Stu Bickel cross-checking penalty, evening out the score.

Four minutes later Hensick would score again — with just 3:02 left on the clock. 2-1 Hamilton. Hamilton wins their fifth straight game and the Wild lose their fifth straight. Both teams will have the opportunity to make it six or break their streaks on Saturday night as the Wild finish off a three-in-three and Hamilton ends their road back-to-back.

Once again, it was the Stephane Veilleux-Brett Bulmer-Brett Sutter line on ice for the even strength goal. All three finished a team-leading minus one. That’s just one game after the 6-0 thrashing from the Grand Rapids Griffins where all three members of that line finished a minus-2, meaning they were on the ice for the only two even strength goals scored in that game. They’ve now been the only forward line to be on the ice for an even strength goal over the last two games.

Talking about things after the game, coach John Torchetti used the word “disappointing” to describe things recently. It seems that every game on this losing streak had some specific collapse that led to things going the way they did despite Iowa putting in a decent effort.

There have been a couple really poor goaltending performances, there have been games like the 6-0 loss to Grand Rapids where the team took 38 shots and couldn’t get a goal in, and there have been a lot of games like this one, where Iowa has outshot their opponent and still lost the game.

Highlights (and a blooper?):

In related news, the Alaska Aces beat the Colorado Eagles 5-4 in a shootout on Friday night. Johan Gustafsson got the start and allowed four goals on 32 shots.