Iowa Heartlanders win two games in weekend series

The Heartlanders posted multiple franchise records while playing against the Rapid City Rush in South Dakota.


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 Iowa Heartlanders posted one of their most dominant wins ever Sunday. The club that’s still less than a year old downed the Rapid City Rush, 9-1.

The Heartlanders’ nine-goal total is the largest they’ve ever recorded. Their eight-score margin of victory is also a franchise record.

Iowa forward Jake Smith also made history Sunday, scoring three goals. Smith is the first player in franchise history to register a hat trick.

Iowa was already shorthanded heading into Sunday’s contest with 14 skaters, but the Heartlanders had another blow when forward Ryan Kuffner was scratched because of injury.

Sunday’s game was the last of a three-game set the Heartlanders played against the Rush. Iowa took two of three against Rapid City.

On Saturday, the Heartlanders won their first overtime game in franchise history, 4-3.

Iowa forward Bryce Misley tallied the game-winning goal 20 seconds into the overtime period.

The Heartlanders never led in Friday’s contest, surrendering two third period goals to fall to the Rush, 3-2.

Big picture 

The Heartlanders are now 11-17-3-1 after a two-win weekend. Iowa is still last place in the ECHL Central Division, and its 26 points puts the club two points behind the sixth-place Indy Fuel.

The Heartlanders used a depleted roster on the road trip, but they should have more firepower when they return to the ice next weekend. The Iowa Wild announced Sunday that they reassigned defenders Riese Zmolek and Adrien Beraldo and goaltender Trevin Kozlowski back to the Heartlanders. Zmolek is a Heartlanders’ alternate captain.

Kaczperski solid in net

Goaltender Corbin Kaczperski saved 39 of the 40 shots he faced on Sunday — a game dominated by the Heartlanders’ nine goals.

In the third period, Kaczperski made a leg and chest save back-to-back to hold the Rush to one goal.


Jack Berry was slotted at netminder to begin the contest on Saturday. After two periods, Kaczperski replaced him and earned his first ECHL victory, stopping 13 of 14 shots in 20:20 of play. 

The Michigander started Friday’s contest and surrendered three goals while making 31 saves.

Up next

The Heartlanders will have some rest before they suit up for their Jan. 14 contest against the Kansas City Mavericks at Xtream Arena. The Heartlanders and Mavericks will meet for the eighth time this season. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.

The Heartlanders lead the season series, 4-3. Iowa came up victorious in the last contest between the two clubs, 3-2.

To finish off the weekend, the Heartlanders will compete at the Indy Fuel on Jan. 15 and 16. 

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