Heartlanders look to spoil Thanksgiving for rivals, extend win streak

Coralville, Iowa- The Heartlanders just completed their six-game homestand sweep of the Kalamazoo Wings and Utah Grizzlies. Now, the team will embark on a ten-game road trip, including four games from Wednesday, November 22 to Sunday, November 26 against their three biggest rivals for Thanksgiving weekend.

Going into last week, Iowa was 0-3 all-time against Utah. They quickly flipped the script with a convincing sweep with scores of 3-2, 4-0, and 3-2, respectively. Defending Goalkeeper of the Week Peyton Jones kept his former team scoreless for 68:28, while Drew ReRidder, in his Heartlanders debut and second-ever ECHL game continued that streak for another 23:46, meaning Utah spent 92:14 without a puck in the back of the net, almost five full periods of hockey. The November 17th shutout by Peyton Jones was Iowa’s first game keeping the net empty since March 19, 2023, at Kalamazoo, recorded by Hunter Jones.

Hunter Jones will return to the team along with Forwards Louis Boudon and Casey Dornbach, all of whom have been assigned to the Heartlanders following brief stints with the Iowa Wild. Dornbach will play his first ECHL game, wear #8, and is a native of Edina, MN, like now-teammate Ben Brinkman. These additions to the roster should be helpful for the upcoming road trip with a Wednesday game at Kalamazoo, A Thanksgiving Day game at Fort Wayne, and Saturday/Sunday at Wheeling, Iowa’s 3 biggest rivals over 4 games in 5 days. Iowa also said goodbye to defenseman Nolan Orzeck as he was traded to the Allen Americans for future considerations, Orzeck played 73 games with the Landers since the beginning of the 2022-23 season.

Iowa will likely rely heavily on their reserves if they wish to tally points in the standings this weekend, as road trips with small squads have proven to be uphill battles for the Landers, who, along with Utah and Reading, remain winless on the road this season. The able-bodied reserves will feature Goalie Hunter Jones, Defenseman Hunter Lellig, and more as the squad travels east. Forward Liam Coughlin was placed on Injured Reserve and will miss time due to an unspecified injury that might be able to be traced back to a recent slew of nasty hits and puck deflections that have not gone in his favor. We wish him a speedy recovery and hope to see him back on the ice shortly.

Davis Koch (ECHL Player of the Week of Nov. 13-20, 2023) and the Iowa Heartlanders will look to spend their Thanksgiving week extending their six-game win streak in the arenas of their main rivals with Wednesday’s game at Kalamazoo starting at 6:00 CT, Thursday’s game at 6:30 CT, Saturday’s Game at 6:10 CT, and Sunday’s at 3:10 CT.

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