Record crowd sees Checkers outlast Wild11/10/2016
The Iowa Wild (5-7-0-0, 10 points) were defeated by the Charlotte Checkers (6-3-0-0, 12 points) 5-4 on Thursday morning in front of a team-record 13,121 fans at Wells Fargo Arena. Checkers forward Patrick Brown broke a 4-4 tie with 5:36 left in regulation, catapulting Charlotte past Iowa. The two teams combined for seven goals in the first period and the Wild carried a 4-3 lead into the third period before relinquishing control. Wild forward Teemu Pulkkinen (1g-1a) and defenseman Gustav Olofsson (2a) each picked up two points in the setback. Charlotte goalie Alex Nedeljkovic (1-2-0) garnered his first win of his career with 18 saves. Iowa goalie Steve Michalek (4-2-0) suffered the loss with 42 saves on 47 shots, his third straight game with over 40 saves. Forwards Pat Cannone, Kurtis Gabriel and Mario Lucia also scored in the defeat. The Wild broke its own attendance record with 13,121 fans at the game, the largest ever for a pro hockey game in the state of Iowa. Iowa and Charlotte meet again on Friday at 7 p.m. in Des Moines.
In a crazy first period that totaled seven goals, Charlotte opened the scoring frenzy at 2:58, taking a 1-0 lead off a power-play goal by Valentin Zykov. His third goal of the year was set up by Captain Derek Ryan. Iowa countered with an even-strength goal at 5:10 of the first period, as Jordan Schroeder made a nice pass to Mario Lucia, who was cutting down the left wing. Lucia potted a one-timer past Nedeljkovic for his second goal of the season. Right wing Alex Tuch also picked up an assist as the teams were knotted at 1-1. The Checkers regained the lead at 9:14 of the opening period, as Brock McGinn beat Steve Michalek. Ryan picked up his second assist of the game on McGinn’s fifth goal of the year for the 2-1 lead. Iowa countered and tied the game 2-2 at 11:45 of the opening frame. Pat Cannone forced a turnover and missed the initial shot. Defenseman Gustav Olofsson picked up the rebound and slipped a pass to Cannone, who beat Nedeljkovic with a one-timer. His second goal of the year was also assisted by Teemu Pulkkinen. Iowa moved in front at 12:54, as Kurtis Gabriel scored off a long rebound for the 3-2 lead. Forward Jeff Hoggan had the lone assist on Gabriel’s third goal of the season. The Checkers tied the game 3-3 at 13:26, as defenseman Keegan Lowe scored off a long shot from the blueline. The unassisted goal was his third tally of the year. The Wild moved back in front at 15:09, as Pulkkinen jammed in a rebound for the 4-3 Iowa lead. Forward Colton Beck had the lone assist on Pulkkinen’s second goal of the year.
After a scoreless second period, Charlotte’s Kyle Hagel picked off a pass and scored an unassisted goal at 7:12 of the third period, his first goal of the year for the 4-4 score. The Checkers scored off a mad scramble in front of the Iowa net. Patrick Brown found the loose puck and beat Michalek for the eventual game winner with 5:36 left in regulation. Forward Andrew Poturalski and Sergey Tolchinsky helped set up the goal for the 5-4 final.
Iowa rounds out the weekend with games on Friday and Saturday. Friday night is Veterans Appreciation Night, benefitting ALS Association Iowa Chapter. The Wild celebrates our Veterans by wearing specialty jerseys (red-white-blue themed), which are auctioned off after the game in a live auction. The first 1,500 fans will be handed a Patriotic Hat upon entry, sponsored by Alt 106.3, Vatterott College and Hy-Vee. Fans may also enjoy $2 Beers on Friday compliments of 100.3 The Bus. The Wild meets Charlotte on Friday for a 7 p.m. faceoff.
On Saturday, the Ontario Reign makes it lone visit to Wells Fargo Arena, the first meeting in history between Iowa and Ontario. The Wild celebrates Youth Sports Night by honoring local youth sports teams in Des Moines. The first 1,500 youths (12 and under) to the game receives an Iowa Wild Youth Jersey T-Shirt, sponsored by 107.5 KISS FM. It’s also a Jim Beam Night presented by NASH FM, where fans 21 and older may enjoy a $5 Beam Apple Orchard or a $10 Beam Apple Orchard in a mason jar. The Brewdog pack is also available, which features a beer/hot dog voucher at the game and a voucher for a free drink at Legends Bar and Grill.
2016-17 Iowa Wild regular season single-game tickets are on sale now. Follow the Iowa Wild on Twitter @IAWILD or like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/iawild.