Iowa Heartlanders drop two-game road series

The Heartlanders only tallied one goal throughout the two contests.


Gabby Drees

Heartlander forwards Joe Widmar and Yuki Miura rush to gain control of the puck after a face-off at a hockey game between the Iowa Heartlanders and Toledo Walleye at Xtream Arena in Coralville, Iowa, on Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021. The Walleye defeated the Heartlanders, 4-0.

Isaac Goffin, Sports Reporter

The Iowa Heartlanders lost two consecutive road games over the weekend. Iowa fell to the Fort Wayne Komets on Friday and the Indy Fuel on Sunday.

The Heartlanders dropped the Friday contest, 1-0.

Goaltender Corbin Kaczperski received the starting nod against Fort Wayne on Friday and blocked 32 out of 33 shots. His performance was not a catalyst for the Heartlander offense, however, as Iowa tallied only 14 shots.

The Heartlanders kicked off the New Year at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum, but Iowa tallied just one goal as Jake Smith found the back of the net at the 1:20 mark of the third period off a rebound in the Heartlanders 4-1 loss to the Fuel.

Though Smith’s score — the first in his ECHL career — brought the Heartlanders to within one in the contest at the time, Kaczperski surrendered his third goal with less than four minutes remaining in the game. The Fuel scored on an empty net with five seconds left to seal the game.

Big picture

The 9-15-3-1 Heartlanders are at the bottom of the ECHL Central Division, 14 points behind the first-place Toledo Walleye. The Fuel’s victory over the Heartlanders pushed Iowa to last place in the division.

In terms of points, the Heartlanders are the worst team in the ECHL Western Conference and own the second-fewest points out of any franchise in the league.

Whitmore makes an appearance

Before Friday’s game, the last time forward Derek Whitmore competed in a professional hockey game was during the 2017-18 season.

After 2017-18, Whitmore moved on to coach. He is now an assistant coach with the Chicago Steel of the U.S. Hockey League.

But that didn’t mean his playing career is over just yet. The Heartlanders wanted 10 forwards for Friday’s match, so Iowa signed the 37-year-old to an ECHL contract. Whitmore started the contest but did not record any statistics.

He was released by the Heartlanders the following day as he went back to his position with the Steel.

Up next

The Heartlanders will return to play on Jan. 7 against the Rapid City Rush for the start of a three-game series at The Monument in South Dakota.

The Rush are currently 13-13-2-2, third place in the ECHL Mountain Division.

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