Power line leads Iowa Heartlanders into three-game week

The Heartlanders’ line that features Yuki Miura, Kris Bennett, and Bryce Misley has helped Iowa win two of its last four games.


Gabby Drees

Forward Bryce Misley moves the puck during a hockey game between the Iowa Heartlanders and the Wheeling Nailers at the Xtream Arena in Coralville, Iowa on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. The Wheeling Nailers defeated the Heartlanders 4-3.

Isaac Goffin, Sports Reporter

The power line of Kris Bennett, Yuki Miura, and Bryce Misley has made an impact for the Iowa Heartlanders this season.

The group will have its next chance to hit the ice this week, as the 4-10-2 Heartlanders play one home game at Xtream Arena Wednesday and two contests on the road this weekend.

Iowa will take on the Wichita Thunder at 7 p.m. Wednesday and the Fort Wayne Comets at 7 p.m. Friday and 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

The Heartlanders’ Bennett-Miura-Misley line has scored eight goals in the four games it’s played since it was assembled. Iowa has won two of its last four games.

Bennett and Misley have been on the Heartlanders’ roster since Iowa opened its season. Miura joined the Heartlanders’ active roster on Nov. 19. Miura wasn’t with the Heartlanders when they started their season in October because he had to wait to get his visa approved before he started playing hockey in the U.S.

Miura wasn’t on a line with Bennett and Misley right away. After the Heartlanders were walloped by the Toledo Walleye Nov. 19 and 20, Miura was added to Bennett and Misley’s line.

Miura, Bennett, and Misley played on the same line for the first time on Nov. 21. Iowa downed Fort Wayne, 5-1, that day. The Heartlanders beat the Kansas City Mavericks, 4-1, Nov. 25.

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Before their wins over the Comets and Mavericks, the Heartlanders had never won two games consecutively.

“It’s been awesome since we’ve been together,” Misley said Tuesday. “I mean, those are two great players. Benny’s a workhorse, and Yuki’s one of the smartest players I’ve played with. So, anytime you’re out there with those two guys, it’s easier to find success.”

Iowa head coach Gerry Fleming said Bennett, Misley, and Miura complement each other, adding that the trio plays with a lot of energy, intelligence, joy, and responsibility.

“They seem to find each other,” Fleming said. “They enjoy playing with one another. So, anytime you get that, you’re going to get good chemistry.”

Since training camp, Fleming has stressed that his team needs to execute better. With Bennett, Miura, and Misely on the ice, the Heartlanders seem to be doing just that.

“Through osmosis alone, you’re going to get better just by playing with better players all the time and going out on the ice and repetitive good habits,” Fleming said. “You’re going to get better. So, execution gets better, we just got to improve our pace with execution and execute plays with the puck as well as without the puck.”

Since its season-opening win over Kansas City Oct. 22, Iowa has gone 3-10-2. Though the Heartlanders are currently situated at the bottom of the ECHL Central Division standings, Misley said the team has remained tight-knit.

“We do know we have to play better,” Misley said. “We’ve seen flashes of it, and we know what we’re capable of. So, it’s just having each other’s backs and keep grinding through it and it will come.”

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