Remember earlier in the season when the team had 3 and 4-day layoffs at the beginning of the season? Remember what it was like to have 2-3 games with a few days in between? The month of March is a grind of back-to-backs and the worst kind are the ones that occur Saturday / Sunday. Yea, so much for the weekend eh? Good thing for the Minnesota Wild is after their game against Anaheim this evening, the team will have a few days off before it plays again on Thursday against Vegas.
The Anaheim Ducks are in the same boat in the standings that San Jose and Los Angeles are, sitting near the bottom of the Pacific division and well out of playoff contention and simply playing hard to impress for next season. The Wild stumbled yesterday in a loss to the Kings, can they rebound with a victory over the Ducks?
1st Period Thoughts: Minnesota had good jump to start the game, trying to work their way in close to pressure against Ryan Miller. The Ducks would try to take advantage of Minnesota’s smaller defenseman by working the puck down low and working a cycle game. Both teams were finishing their checks and players had to keep their head up to avoid open ice hits. Jonas Brodin was called for holding as he tried to keep Jakob Silfverberg from going after a puck in the offensive zone. It was a frustrating and rather lazy penalty. Fortunately, the Wild penalty killers did a good job of applying pressure to the Ducks puck carriers and Minnesota would get the early kill. Time and space was hard to come by as the Ducks were shadowing the Wild very closely whether with or without the puck. In a way, its the same kind of opponent they’ve faced the previous two games and its not easy to play against because as soon as they lost control of the puck it seemed to give the Ducks a great chance. Rickard Rakell would use his frame to protect the puck and he’d dish a pass to the slot where Silfverberg stepped into a slap shot that beat Dubnyk cleanly. Dubnyk looked up at the scoreboard, clearly feeling a bit anxious after the goal. Fortunately for Dubnyk, the Wild had an answer for Silfverberg’s goal as Minnesota would create a 2-on-1 as Mats Zuccarello raced into the Ducks zone along with Alex Galchenyuk and the initial pass was blocked and Zuccarello instead ripped a shot by Miller. The play would be challenged by the Ducks who felt goaltender interference may have taken place as Galchenyuk bumped into Miller. After a review, the goal would stand and the Ducks would receive a delay of game penalty for their failed challenge giving the Wild its first power play. 1-1 game with the Wild on the man advantage. Minnesota’s power play struggled to get set up in the offensive zone. After they got set up the Wild would be patient as they looked to find Kevin Fiala with the puck and once they got it he rewarded the team with a wicked top shelf snipe. 2-1 Wild. The Wild would take a penalty as Brodin tripped up Carter Rowney. Minnesota’s penalty killers again did a fine job of applying timely puck pressure and the Ducks found themselves spending more time defending than attacking. Perhaps feeling his team needed a spark as much he was annoyed by a huge hit doled out by Jordan Greenway, he’d be challenged by Ryan Getzlaf who dropped the gloves against the Wild power forward. Getzlaf mostly was holding on beyond throwing a few jabs as Greenway tried to free his right hand to start throwing haymakers before finally just wrestling the Ducks’ captain to the ice. Not really a clear winner in the fight but Greenway was more than able to hold his own against Getzlaf. A few minutes later Max Jones would trip up Fiala to give the Wild another power play and the physicality of the game continued to intensify. Minnesota’s power play had a great initial chance as they worked a tic-tac toe play between Ryan Suter to Luke Kunin and out front to Zach Parise who was denied by Miller at point blank range. Minnesota’s puck movement was quick and decisive and they thought they added to their lead when Matt Dumba stepped into a slap shot that was partially deflected by Zuccarello but the shot would hit off the left post and stay out. As the Wild tried to track down the puck, Galchenyuk would get called for hooking David Backes negating the rest of the Wild power play and giving the Ducks the man advantage going into the 2nd period. Still, not a bad start after giving up the 1st goal as the Wild held onto a 2-1 lead.
2nd Period Thoughts: The Ducks had a little over 1:30 of power play time to start the 2nd period with. Minnesota would win the initial draw and drive it deep into the Ducks’ zone. Ryan Hartman would use the boards to work a puck behind the Ducks’ defense for an odd man rush as he tried to work a backhand on Miller who deflected the shot up into the air and the puck fluttered back down just back and to the left of the goal. Minnesota would kill off the penalty without too much trouble or any high-danger chances created. Just as was the case with the 1st period, neither club was giving up much time and space on the ice and passes and shots often found themselves deflected away and not many pucks were reaching either goaltender. Not sure if it was just frustration or a lack of options, both teams were occasionally sending long passes hoping to get lucky. Nick Deslauriers would get tangled up with Greg Pateryn at center ice but no gloves were dropped and they’d both head to their respective benches and no penalties were called. The Wild were at times guilty of holding onto the puck too long which made for lots of time and energy spent chasing around after the biscuit. The Ducks would tie the game as Brodin would lose his stick near the wall and Danton Heinen would move in towards the Wild goal and was able sneak a shot between the leg pad and the left post. 2-2 game. Yogurt soft goal given up by Dubnyk who was waiting on the post still somehow let it sneak between the leg pad and the left post.
The Ducks were sitting back in a very passive 1-2-2 or a 1-3-1 hoping to trap the Wild into a turnover and an odd-man rush the other way. A few minutes later, a turnover in the neutral zone leads to an mild rush into the offensive zone and Rakell fed Silfverberg for a quick shot where he ripped it by Dubnyk. 3-2 Ducks. I’m not sure why you’d keep Dubnyk in the game, as he clearly isn’t good enough having given up 3 goals on 10 shots to this point. He wasn’t screened, it wasn’t tipped, he was just beat. Plain and simple. Marcus Foligno would get called for cross-checking as he shoved Keifer Sherwood to the ice while trying to track a puck down in the Ducks’ zone. The Ducks’ power again struggled, even with some good puck movement the Wild managed to get sticks and bodies into shooting lanes and Minnesota was able to clear the zone. The Wild got the kill but they didn’t seem to have the energy to push for the equalizer in the final minute of the period and they had feel rather frustrated and disappointed to be down by one going into the 2nd intermission. At the end of the period, Brad Hunt would take a hit that drew the ire of team but no penalties were called as both teams headed to their respective locker rooms.
3rd Period Thoughts: Much to many Wild fans disdain, the team decided to start the period with Dubnyk still between the pipes. Minnesota was trying to apply pressure with its forecheck early but an unscreened shot from the point by Dumba was fairly easy for Miller to block to the corner. The Ducks would counter attack and Sonny Milano sent a shot on goal that was gloved out of the air by Dubnyk. Minnesota would then get a goal from an unlikely source as Victor Rask who would race into the offensive zone and he’d move to the middle and using Michael Del Zotto as a screen he’d rip a shot by Miller. 3-3 game.
Zach Parise would block a shot near the blueline and he’d race down the ice on a breakaway and he’d try to hesitate and fire a shot through 5-hole but Miller would deny the Wild’s alternate captain. Dubnyk was really struggling to track the puck as the Ducks started to swarm all over the Minnesota zone. Eventually, Dubnyk would make a save on a point shot but with Deslauriers standing near his crease his frustrations would boil over and he pushed and and slashed the Ducks forward as Wild players came to their goaltenders defense. No penalties were called. Minnesota’s 4th line would have a strong shift where Ryan Hartman skated by an Anaheim defender and tracked down a puck and swung a pass out front to Donato for a close in shot that was stopped by Miller. Then Koivu gathered up the puck and Miller held on for a whistle. The Ducks would really start to pour on the pressure the next few minutes and Dubnyk found himself busy as Anaheim was taking shots from any opportunity they had. Neither club was executing particularly well as players were bumping into one another on rushes up the ice and the game kind of devolved into a series of rushes up the ice. As time continued to burn off the clock, the crowd became anxiously silent as both clubs waiting for one mistake they could exploit. Deslauriers would send a no-look pass through the middle of the ice deep in his own zone (a completely stupid play) that went right to stick of Galchenyuk who gathered it up and rifled it by Miller to give the Wild a 4-3 lead to a silent Honda center crowd. The Wild now were hoping to go into lockdown mode to protect this late lead and with some puck pressure and some help from Anaheim on some errant passes they were able to keep the Ducks at bey for a while. But the Wild just couldn’t clear their zone and the more time the Ducks spent in the offensive zone, they’d pull Miller for an extra attacker and it was Silfverberg who found Christian Djoos for a one-timer that beat Dubnyk. 4-4 game. The Wild just hoped to avert complete disaster in the last minute and a half and despite an attempt to set up Koivu on the door step just failing to connect they’d take one point as the game would go to overtime.
Overtime Thoughts: The Wild had the first quality chance of overtime as Fiala turned on the afterburners and flew by the Ducks defense for a shot off the rush that was blocked to the corner by Miller. Minnesota had possession until it sent out Mats Zuccarello and Alex Galchenyuk which nearly resulted in disaster as they spent almost two minutes on the ice just chasing the Ducks around the ice. The Wild would restore stability with a line change and Fiala would draw a tripping penalty on Josh Manson. The penalty would prove costly as Kunin won the draw back to Suter who then fed it back to Fiala just ripped a wrist shot that blazed by Miller for the game winner. 5-4 Wild win!
~ The Wild roster was as follows: Mikko Koivu, Zach Parise, Mats Zuccarello, Alex Galchenyuk, Kevin Fiala, Jordan Greenway, Joel Eriksson Ek, Luke Kunin, Marcus Foligno, Ryan Donato, Victor Rask, Ryan Hartman, Ryan Suter, Jared Spurgeon, Jonas Brodin, Matt Dumba, Brad Hunt and Greg Pateryn. Alex Stalock backed up Devan Dubnyk. Gerald Mayhew was the lone scratch.
~ The 3 Stars of the Game were: 1st Star Jakob Silfverberg, 2nd Star Kevin Fiala, 3rd Star Alex Galchenyuk
~ Attendance was 15,948 at Honda Center.
Iowa Wild Report:
Iowa 3, Manitoba 4 SO
Since the team has called up Gerald Mayhew and loss of Kaapo Kahkonen to a broken hand its been a very different world for the once hot Iowa Wild. The Moose would break the stalemate halfway through the first as Kristian Reichel found the back of the twine behind Mat Robson. Iowa would answer back a little over a minute later on the power play as Luke Johnson fired a shot by Eric Comrie. The Moose would take back the lead late in the 2nd period as Jimmy Oligny jammed a shot through. Iowa would again answer right back as Cody McLeod moved in close and beat Comrie tying the game at 2-2 going into the 3rd period. The Moose would get the go-ahead goal on a play off the rush as Cole Maier. Iowa would again exhibit terrific resilience as they’d strike again on the power play as Kyle Rau scored late in the period to send the game to overtime. Iowa carried the play in overtime but were unable to get anything by Comrie so the game would go to a shootout. In the shootout, all 3 of the Wild’s shooters couldn’t solve Comrie and Robson did almost as well stopping two of Manitoba’s shooters before J.C. Lipon converted his chance to give the Moose a 4-3 victory. Robson had 32 saves in the loss.
Wild Prospect Report:
LW – Adam Beckman (Spokane, WHL) ~ the skilled scorer had a goal and an assist on 4 shots in Spokane’s 6-3 win over Calgary. Beckman has 48 goals, 106 points, 18 PIM’s and is a +43 in 62 games.
C – Damien Giroux (Saginaw, OHL) ~ the Hanmer, Ontario-native had a goal and an assist on 2 shots in Saginaw’s 8-3 win over Hamilton. On Sunday, Giroux had a goal on 2 shots and went 6-for-11 on his draws in the Spirit’s 4-3 win over Erie. Giroux has 44 goals, 75 points, 22 PIM’s and is a +34 in 61 games.
D – Jacob Golden (Erie, OHL) ~ the Toronto-native had an assist on 2 shots in Erie’s 4-2 win over Niagara on Saturday. Golden has 4 goals, 26 points, 8 PIM’s and is a -10 in 47 games.
RW – Ivan Lodnia (Niagara, OHL) ~ the talented winger had an assist on 6 shots in Niagara’s 4-2 loss to Erie. Lodnia has 26 goals, 61 points, 16 PIM’s and is a +4 in 39 games.
C – Matvey Guskov (London, OHL) ~ the versatile forward had a goal on 2 shots in London’s 3-1 win over Owen Sound. On Sunday, he added an empty net goal on 2 shots in the Knights’ 3-1 win over Oshawa. Guskov has 16 goals, 30 points, 48 PIM’s and is a +5 in 62 games.
G – Hunter Jones (Peterborough, OHL) ~ the big goaltender had 30 saves in the Petes’ 5-1 win over Mississauga on Saturday. Jones has a 31-14 record, 2.75 goals against average and a .913% save percentage and 4 shutouts.
C – Alexander Khovanov (Moncton, QMJHL) ~ the super skilled forward has an assist on 3 shots and 1 hit in Moncton’s 4-1 loss to Quebec. On Sunday, the Kazan, Russia-native had an assist on shots and went 5-for-8 on his draws in Moncton’s win over Drummondville on Sunday. Khovanov has 32 goals, 98 points, 94 PIM’s and is a +57 in 50 games.
LW – Jack McBain (Boston College, H-East) ~ the power forward moved to the wing and had 2 assists on 1 shot in Boston College’s 3-3 tie with New Hampshire on Saturday. McBain has 6 goals, 21 points, 39 PIM’s and is a +5 in 34 games.
RW – Matt Boldy (Boston College, H-East) ~ the freshman forward had an assist on 2 shots in the Eagles’ 3-3 tie with New Hampshire. Boldy has 9 goals, 26 points, 8 PIM’s and is a +16 in 34 games.
LW – Kirill Kaprizov (CSKA Moscow, KHL) ~ the Wild’s top prospect netted the game winning goal on 2 shots in CSKA’s 3-2 win over Nizhny Novgorod Torpedo earlier today in order to take a 2-1 series lead. Kaprizov has a goal, 3 points, 2 PIM’s and is a +3 in 3 playoff games.
D – Fedor Gordeev (Guelph, OHL) ~ the 6’7″ defenseman had a primary assist on 2 shots in Guelph’s 4-1 loss against Sarnia on Sunday. Gordeev has 4 goals, 32 points, 38 PIM’s and is a +2 in 50 games.
RW – Shawn Boudrias (Cape Breton, QMJHL) ~ the rugged power forward had a goal and an assist on 3 shots and 1 hit in the Eagles’ 7-1 rout of Acadie-Bathurst on Sunday. Boudrias has 35 goals, 79 points, 41 PIM’s and is a +41 in 58 games.
Minnesota Boys State Tournament Summary: Miss the Tourney? Don’t worry, here is a super quick summary of how everything fell into place in Class A and Class AA including another gem of a Hockey Hair video by John King!
Class A Championship: #4 Mahtomedi 3, #3 Hermantown 2 OT
Class A 3rd Place: #2 St. Cloud Cathedral 6, #1 Warroad 4
Class A Consolation: Monticello 1, #5 Delano 2
Class A All Tournament Team: Grant Slukynsky, Blake Norris, Warroad; Jack Smith, Jon Bell, St. Cloud Cathedral; Blake Biondi, Zack Kilen, Joey Pierce, Jacob Backstrom, Hermantown; Nikolai Dulak, J.D. Metz, Nathan Gruhlke, Ben Dardis, Mahtomedi.
Class A Herb Brooks Award Winner: Colin Hagstrom – Mahtomedi
Class AA Championship: #5 Hill-Murray 4, #3 Eden Prairie 1
Class AA 3rd Place: #2 Blake 4, St. Thomas Academy 0
Class AA Consolation: Maple Grove 1, #1 Andover 4
Class AA All Tournament Team: Wyatt Kaiser, Andover; Will Svenddal, Joe Miller, Jack Sabre, Blake; Axel Rosenlund, Luke Mittlestadt, Mason Langenbrunner, Ben Steeves, Eden Prairie; Remington Koepple, Nick Pierre, Charlie Strobel, Dylan Godbout, Hill-Murray
Class AA Herb Brooks Award Winner: Will Svenddal – Blake
2020 Mr. Hockey – Blake Biondi (Hermantown)
2020 Frank Brimsek Award – Hudson Hodges (Moorhead)
2020 Class A Coach of the Year – Jay Hardwick (Warroad)
2020 Class AA Coach of the Year – Wade Chiodo (Grand Rapids)