Iowa Heartlanders win first game in franchise history

The Heartlanders downed the Kansas City Mavericks, 7-4.

Iowa+Heartlanders+hockey+players+pursue+the+puck+against+the+Kansas+City+Mavericks+at+Xtream+Arena+in+Coralville+on+Oct.+22%2C+2021.+The+Heartlanders+won+the+game%2C+7-4.

Jeff Sigmund

Iowa Heartlanders hockey players pursue the puck against the Kansas City Mavericks at Xtream Arena in Coralville on Oct. 22, 2021. The Heartlanders won the game, 7-4.

Isaac Goffin, Sports Reporter


The Iowa Heartlanders were prepared to put on a show for their fans as soon as they walked out of the tunnel at Xtream ahead of their first-ever game Friday night.

Iowa forward Ryan Kuffner scored the first goal in club history 25 seconds into the Heartlanders’ game against the Kansas City Mavericks.

The score sent the 4,017 fans in attendance at Xtream Arena into a frenzy.

Ultimately, the Heartlanders defeated the Mavericks, 7-4, in a chippy game that included multiple fights and 58 penalties.

Iowa forward Kris Bennett and defenseman Billy Constantinou each had two goals. After the final horn sounded, Kuffner, Constantinou, and Bennett were announced as the three stars of the game.

“We came out and had to match their physicality and get pucks to the net,” Heartlanders head coach Gerry Fleming said. “I thought we did a good job creating offense by taking pucks to the net and creating rebounding and scoring opportunities.”

Fleming added that both teams play a physical style of hockey because they have a lot of big and strong players.

When the cheers settled down from the Kuffner goal, it wasn’t long until the arena saw another green flash from behind the goal. Forward Jack Billings, one of the first players to sign with the Heartlanders, scored the second goal of the game at the 3:15 mark in the first period.

The Mavericks scored their first goal midway through the opening period. Then, in the second period, Bennett and Constantinou posted their first scores of the game.

In the third period, the Mavericks amassed two more goals. But Constantinou and Bennett scored a goal each in the third, sealing a Heartlanders’ victory.

BIG PICTURE

The first game in Heartlanders history was a success for the club. With no regular season precedent for the team heading into the game, it was tough to gage how Iowa would come out of the gates. The Heartlanders did live up to the high expectations they set for themselves on opening night and earned two points in the standings.

Nine players recorded at least one point, with defenseman Jake Linhart — the first player signed in franchise history — getting an assist on each of the game’s first two goals. Forward Bryce Misley, center Tyler Mosienko, and defenseman Adrien Beraldo each put up an assist.

ALTERNATE CAPTAINS

The Heartlanders hit the ice on Friday with no captains, opting to list Bennett, Kuffner, and Mosienko as alternate captains.

All three players have AHL experience. Kuffner even has 10 NHL games under his belt.

It wasn’t announced until Friday at 2 p.m. that Mosienko had signed with team. He is the grandson of Hockey Hall of Famer Bill Mosienko. Tyler Mosienko has played professional hockey in leagues across North America, Europe, and Asia since 2005.

UP NEXT

The Heartlanders and Mavericks won’t have to wait long for a rematch. The teams will connect Saturday at 7:05 p.m. at Cable Dahmer Arena in Independence, Missouri.

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