Iowa Wild Fall To Toronto Marlies


The Iowa Wild‘s two-game winning streak came to an end Saturday afternoon, as they fell to the Toronto Marlies by a final score of 5-1.

The final score was ugly, but the Wild gave some good push back to the Marlies. Goaltender Christopher Gibson was up to every Wild attempt until the final minute of the game.

Despite the Wild outshooting the Marlies 33-26 (including a 17-6 second period), it took the Wild until the final minute of the game to score a meaningless goal and ruin Gibson’s shutout bid. Zack Mitchell gets credit for the goal, backhanding it over Gibson, but the lion’s share of credit there needs to go to Marc Hagel, who drove the net hard from the corner, making a nice move to fake before powering his way into the crease.

The matinee was Darcy Kuemper‘s final AHL game on his conditioning stint. He stopped just 21 of 26 shots for an .808 Sv%.

It’d be fair to say that the first couple Toronto goals were out of Kuemper’s control. the Marlies opened up the scoring with a breakaway goal from Greg McKegg and followed that by a couple of nice passing plays that led to goals from Matt Frattin (who has bounced between teams, but was worth the gamble for Toronto to get him back this season) and a second from McKegg.

More from Iowa Wild

However, as the game wore on, there were late goals from Josh Leivo and 18-year-old William Nylander where Kuemper allowed a wide-angle goal he should have had (Leivo) and just completely lost track of the puck after a shot from the point. Nylander banged that rebound home.

The trip to Iowa was not the “reset button” for Kuemper that the team needed it to be. Kuemper didn’t look as though it was the start of a return to form, the kind of return to form where he stops that first breakaway attempt — though he can’t be blamed for the goal — in order to keep his team in the game. Those are the kind of game-changing saves that have been missing from his game since early in the season.

Outside of a very nice shutout victory over the Adirondack Flames, Kuemper turned in some performances that have been par for the course this season, sub .900. We’ll have more on his conditioning stint on the site soon.

Elsewhere on the team, Tyler Graovac led the team with six shots, followed by Hagel and Zack Phillips, who registered five each.

The loss drops Iowa’s season record to 17-30-1-1. They’re only two points back from the Charlotte Checkers though, which means it’s still possible for them to claw their way out of the basement and avoid the dishonor of being last in the AHL two years running.

Watch the highlights for Saturday’s game here:

The Wild are back in action on Tuesday, when they return to Hamilton to play the Bulldogs for the final time this season. We’ve seen a lot of the Bulldogs lately, with the Wild playing four of six games over a 12-day span against the Bulldogs.