ECHL: Davis Koch’s Overtime Winner Helps Heartlanders Finish Road Trip on a High Note

Fort Wayne, IN- It took over 180 minutes of hockey for the Heartlanders to celebrate their first win of the long weekend, but it was worth the wait for Iowa fans. Before Davis Koch’s 13th of the season, Iowa had some building up to do to get to the happy bus ride home.

After last weekend, David Spacek unsurprisingly earned his return to the Iowa Wild. To make room for him on the roster, rookie defenseman Kyle Masters traded places with him. Maxim Cajkovic also made his return from Injured Reserve.

Following a 10-3 Loss to the Kalamazoo Wings on Friday that is not worth discussing other than the first professional goals for Iowa’s Chris Lipe and Kyle Masters and a 6th goal from Jesse Jacques, Iowa quickly put the atypical beatdown behind them. With Drew DeRidder in goal for the second game, Iowa kept themselves in punching distance late, as the team saw themselves down 3-1, with Cajkovic getting his first since his injury and 6th of the season. A late second-period feed from Casey Dornbach to Louis Boudon put the game within one, and Ben Brinkman’s first pro goal in the very late third period sent Saturday’s game to overtime. Come overtime, Kalamazoo’s Ty Glover found the back of DeRidder’s net against the run of play.

Head Coach Derek Damon explained to announcer David Fine that fighting back and earning a point offered momentum going into Sunday afternoon’s game in Fort Wayne. Fans also saw a team with the mental resilience to earn points in games they may not control, and when they checked the standings, saw that the extra point put them in a three-way tie for second place.

Iowa made sure that tie didn’t last long as the team looked towards keeping second place for themselves. In a surprisingly smooth, fast, and calm game between two teams who take pride in punching each other, one goal each in the second period, including Casey Dornbach’s second, saw the teams heading to overtime at that score. Before fans could even get anxious about the 3 vs 3 stress that overtime can cause, Davis Koch had found open ice and buried the puck behind the net. Peyton Jones made up for his difficulties on Friday by making a stunning 42 saves to earn the win and make up for Friday’s loss.

The Heartlanders have gone Hockey .500 (to my non-hockey-educated readers, this means earning 50% of available points during a stretch, be it a season, series, home stint, or road trip, etc.) over their ten-game road trip, and look to continue their league-high and standing season-high six-game home winning streak that many may have forgotten about when they return to Xtream Arena. as we build momentum for this weekend, it might be time to ask the daunting question that Iowans will hope does not jinx the team: Can this Heartlanders team be the first one that breaks through and makes the playoffs?

Must-watch games on Friday the 15th through Sunday the 17th against the first-place Toledo Walleye may offer to help answer that question. These games will be at 6:30, 6:00, and 2:00, respectively, with Saturday being the fan-favorite Teddy Bear Toss and Sunday being the Elementary School Game and Team Photo Giveaway. Forward Gavin Hain will join the Heartlanders this week from the Iowa Wild to boost the squad as they look to punch upwards and take down Toledo.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

ECHL Central Division Semifinals Game Recap: Wheeling Nailers vs. Indy Fuel Game 3 | 04/22/2024

The Wheeling Nailers welcomed the Indy Fuel into WesBanco Arena in Wheeling, WV, tonight for game 3 of the Kelly Cup Central Division Semifinals as the Nailers came out on top in an exciting 3-2 overtime win. The Nailers captain, Justin Addamo, scored the game-winning goal to give the Nailers a 2-1 series lead. Wheeling […]

Read More

ECHL: Adirondack Thunder Transactions | 04/22/2024

The Adirondack Thunder have officially announced that defenseman Will MacKinnon and forward Filip Engaras from the Utica Comets as the Comets season officially came to an end this past weekend. MacKinnon is a massive addition to the Adirondack’s lineup as MacKinnon and Colin Felix have been paired up together not only at the beginning of […]

Read More

PHOTOS: Wheeling Nailers vs Indy Fuel – 04/19/2024

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind – The Indy Fuel hosted the Wheeling Nailers for the first game of the playoffs on Friday night. The Fuel defeated the Nailers 5-2 in their first home playoff win in franchise history. Brett Bulmer and Wheeling’s Justin Lee set the tone with a fight after a series of hits along the boards. The […]

Read More