Iowa Heartlanders fall to Wichita Thunder in 3-2 thriller

Iowa lost to Wichita via shootout at Xtream Arena in Coralville Wednesday night.

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Madelyn Hellwig

Iowa Heartlanders forward Yuki Miura circles the goal in a game against the Wichita Thunder at Xtream Arena in Coralville on December 2nd, 2021. The Thunder defeated the Heartlanders, 3-2.

Jake Olson, Sports Reporter


The Iowa Heartlanders fell to the Wichita Thunder, 3-2, Wednesday night at Xtream Arena in Coralville.

The game ended in dramatic fashion, as Iowa erased a 2-0 deficit to tie the contest and force overtime. Though, the Thunder quickly won via shootout.

“[The Thunder] came in there and played a smart road game,” Fleming said. “They kept things simple and executed on their opportunities.”

Through one period of action, the Heartlanders and Thunder were actually tied, 0-0. In the second stanza, Wichita scored twice to go up, 2-0.

The Heartlanders’ rally started at the end of the second period, when Iowa forward Kris Bennet found the back of the net to make the score, 2-1.

“His play speaks for himself,” Iowa head coach Gerry Fleming said of Bennett. “He’s a two-point-a-game guy. He’s tenacious after the puck and is our leader out there.”

The Heartlanders officially tied the game in the third period, as forward Yuki Miura scored a goal off a rebound. Miura has scored four times in the seven games he’s played for Iowa this season.

“I just like the way that we battled back,” Fleming said. “We were down 2-0 there and ended up scoring a late goal in the third to come back. We were able to crack one in the second and momentum got the third.”

In overtime, the Heartlanders missed all six of their shots on goal. With the score still tied, 2-2, at the end of the extra frame, the game went into a shootout that the Heartlanders would ultimately lose. 

“We had some chances in the game to win,” Fleming said. “We just couldn’t put it in to finish the game.”

BIG PICTURE

Iowa is now 4-10-2 on the season. The Heartlanders’ record has them situated at the bottom of the ECHL Central Division standings.

Wichita is currently second in the ECHL Mountain Division standings. The Thunder have won their last four games.

BENNETT STAYS HOT

Bennett leads the Heartlanders in total points with 10 goals and 11 assists this season. The University of New Brunswick alum is currently riding a nine-game point streak.

UP NEXT

The Heartlanders’ next two games will come on the road Friday and Saturday. In both contests, Iowa will take on the Fort Wayne Komets at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Indiana.

Game times are set for 7 p.m. Friday and 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

The Heartlanders will play a three-game homestand against the Toledo Walleye at Xtream Arena starting Dec. 8.

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