Happy Hockey Day Minnesota 2022 everyone!
Besides a lot of nostalgic outdoor scenes of hockey throughout the day, the nightcap game with the Minnesota Wild always seems to feature late-game heroics.
Minnesota did not start out very well, and the Blackhawks looked ornery and motivated as they outworked the Wild for most of the 1st period. Chicago would take the lead about mid way through the 1st period as Henrik Borgstrom would score from in close after some careless play with the puck by the Minnesota Wild.
The Blackhawks would add to their lead late in the 1st as Alex DeBrincat was set up for a one-timer from near the left faceoff dot that Kaapo Kahkonen had no chance on.
A late period penalty on Chicago gave Minnesota a chance to strike late in the period and they wasted little time as Jared Spurgeon sent a shot on goal that was stopped by Kevin Lankinen, but he was unable to control the rebound and Joel Eriksson Ek pounced the rebound. 2-1 Chicago after 1 period of play.
In the 2nd period, Minnesota had better effort and peppered Lankinen with shots, but the Wild didn’t show enough want to near the crease and the Blackhawks goalie was able to gather up the loose pucks. Despite outshooting Chicago 20-9 in the period, the Wild still trailed 2-1 after two.
In the 3rd period, the Minnesota Wild started off slow and perhaps a little too nonchalant. At times, it almost appeared as though the Wild were content with wasting time. Minnesota would tie the game on the power play as Kirill Kaprizov hammered a shot by Lankinen, but the feeling of relief would be short-lived. Just about a little over a minute later, Borgstrom poked another puck through Kahkonen to give Chicago a 3-2 lead with a little under 8 minutes left in the 3rd.
Wild Head Coach Dean Evason, feeling his team needed a spark would pull Kahkonen for an extra attacker and Minnesota would get the equalizer as Kevin Fiala found the back of the net on a shot from the slot. It was the team’s 12th goal of the season with its goaltender pulled.
The game would go to overtime where it was a back and forth affair. Minnesota appeared to have some bad luck when Kirill Kaprizov was called for high sticking just after being hooked by Patrick Kane. This deprived both teams of their leading scorers which made for an interesting few minutes.
Ultimately, it was Jordan Greenway moving into the Chicago zone before feeding a puck right to the wheelhouse of Marcus Foligno who drove a shot by Lankinen to give Minnesota a 4-3 overtime victory.
Kahkonen had another solid effort, making a number of saves of the fantastic variety including a beautiful scorpion style stop in the 1st period. He had 33 saves in the victory. Minnesota managed to earn 5 out of a possible 6 points this week, not too shabby.
However I do have a few questions. Why does the Wild use Frederic Gaudreau in a shooters position on the power play? Gaudreau may have the weakest shot on the team, and just 2 goals on the season. I understand that he’s out there to win the draw, which is important but why put him in a position where he needs to be the triggerman?
Another question is why did the Wild choose to sit a skilled puck mover like Calen Addison in favor of Jordie Benn? The Blackhawks are more of a finesse team, so why not dress more of a puck mover instead of a slower more physical player like Benn? Minnesota had trouble working the puck out of its own end, and it sure seemed like they could’ve used Addison’s skillset tonight.
What did you think of this week’s slate of games? Tell us on Twitter at @CreaseAndAssist!
Mason Shaw has a big night & power play outage
Every athlete goes through the ups and downs over the course of their playing career. For professional athletes, the mantra ‘what have you done for me lately’ makes those highs and lows that much more intense. Hockey players understand this feeling of guilt the best, especially when they have taken a penalty.
Think about it, you take a minor penalty and now you get to sit in the penalty box and watch helplessly as your team may pay the price for your poor choice. If the opponent scores, you get to have the skate of shame back to your own bench only to face the indignation of your coach.
Yet there are those nights where just about everything goes right. Mason Shaw knows this feeling as he netted a hat trick and an assist in Iowa’s 4-3 come-from-behind victory over the Manitoba Moose on Wednesday.
Shaw is no stranger to set backs, having suffered through 3 major knee injuries in his career. That has made it difficult for 23-year old to rise up the organizational depth chart.
Unfortunately that really was the highlight of the week for the Iowa Wild as they dropped their next two games against the Colorado Eagles.
One win, followed up by two losses has kind of been the pattern as of the last month and its been a big reason the team has found itself near the lower half of the AHL Central Division standings. With the call up of Matt Boldy to Minnesota, the Iowa Wild power play has gone into hibernation and the team desperately misses those special team goals.
It will be up to Iowa Wild bench boss Tim Army and Assistant Coach Nate DiCasmirro to find a way to get the power play back on track.
Iowa Wild (record): (15-16-2-2) 34pts 4th in the AHL Central
19.4% Power Play (13th in the NHL)
87% Penalty Kill (2nd in the NHL)
Top 5 Scoers:
1. #23 Marco Rossi ~ 9G 18A = 27pts
2. #42 Kyle Rau ~ 10G 14A = 24pts
3. #18 Mason Shaw ~ 10G 13A = 23pts
4. #13 Nick Swaney ~ 9G 12A = 21pts
5. #27 Joe Hicketts ~ 7G 12A = 19pts
Top 3 PIM’s:
1. #55 Cody McLeod ~ 96 PIM’s
2. #18 Mason Shaw ~ 61 PIM’s
3. #19 Joey Cramarossa ~ 42 PIM’s
1. #70 Zane McIntyre (4-5-0) 2.93GAA .901%SP
2. #30 Dereck Baribeau (4-7-1) 3.10GAA .903%SP
3. #92 Hunter Jones (2-3-1) 2.81GAA .909%SP
Where Are They Now? D – Nate Prosser (Retired)
The Elk River-native, announced his retirement from the NHL last week after a 12-year career. Prosser played in 353 games with the Minnesota Wild over the course of 10 seasons where he had 10 goals, 47 points and 231 penalty minutes.
Many of those penalty minutes were doled out in scrums after the whistle and in fights as he tried to stand up for teammates. These qualities and a positive, selfless attitude made him a favorite in the locker room.
As he told KFAN‘s Brandon Mileski and Pat Micheletti on Beyond the Pod, the Minnesota Wild were trying to replace him season after season, but he stayed patient and did what he could do to be ready when needed.
The highlight of his career was his overtime goal against the Dallas Stars during Hockey Day Minnesota in 2014, which coincidentally was hosted by his hometown of Elk River making for the perfect storybook ending.
Currently, he’s spending his time coaching his daughter’s hockey teams and doing some scouting for high school programs like Wayzata.
Wild Prospect Report:
G – Jesper Wallstedt (Lulea, SHL) ~ Minnesota’s top pick in 2021 had 25 saves in Lulea’s 4-3 victory over Vaxjo. He has a 10-8 record, 1.95 goals against average with a .918% save percentage with 3 shutouts this season.
D – Daemon Hunt (Moose Jaw, WHL) ~ The Warriors’ captain had two assists in Moose Jaw’s 8-2 thrashing of the Calgary Hitmen on Wednesday. On Saturday, he would add a goal and two assists in the Warriors’ 5-4 win over Red Deer. Hunt has 10 goals, 11 assists, 18 points, 21 PIM’s and is a +6 in 27 games.
D – Ryan O’Rourke (Sault Ste. Marie, OHL) ~ The Greyhounds’ captain had an assist on 1 shot in Sault Ste. Marie’s 4-2 victory over Guelph on Friday night. O’Rourke has 4 goals, 21 assists, 37 PIM’s and is a +1 in 27 games.
LW / C – Caeden Bankier (Kamloops, WHL) ~ The lanky power forward had an assist and went 8-for-11 on his draws in Kamloops’ 5-1 win over Prince George on Friday night. Bankier has 12 goals, 19 assists, 31 points, 14 PIM’s and is an ‘even’ rating in 35 games.
F – Sam Hentges (St. Cloud State, NCHC) ~ With the NHL deciding not to participate in the Olympics, the former Totino-Grace star has been selected to play for the U.S. Men’s Olympic team. On Friday night, he decided to showcase his scoring ability with a goal and an assist in the Huskies’ 11-1 rout of the University of Miami (OH). He added another goal and an assist in St. Cloud State’s 8-0 win over the Red Hawks to sweep the series. Hentges has 6 goals, 7 assists, 13 points, 8 PIM’s and is +4 in 9 games.
D – Jack Peart (St. Cloud State, NCHC) ~ 2021’s Mr. Hockey had an assist in St. Cloud State’s 11-1 thrashing of the Redhawks on Friday. He’d chip in two more helpers on Saturday in the Huskies’ 8-0 rout of Miami (OH). Peart has 2 goals, 12 assists, 14 points, 20 PIM’s and is +5 in 15 games.
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