The Minnesota Wild were swept over the weekend by the St. Louis Blues in a pair of games, one of which they lost 9-1. While most people were watching those contests, or perhaps the NCAA Championship featuring St. Cloud State, there was another significant event happening in the Wild organization 350 miles to the south.
Stud prospect Matt Boldy made his professional debut for the Iowa Wild after signing his entry-level contract on March 30.
If you haven’t been following Boldy this season, or this website’s extensive Boldy coverage, he had a stud year for Boston College. In 22 games, Boldy tallied 31 points (11 goals, 20 assists), which gave him the third-best points per game (1.41) average in the nation, only trailing Wisconsin’s Cole Caufield (whom you may have heard of) and Quinnipiac’s Odeen Tufto.
Also jammed in the season was a star showing at the World Junior Championships, where he tallied seven points while helping the United States win the gold medal.
So, all in all, it was a pretty great season for Matt Boldy. And that did not stop with the transition to professional hockey.
In Iowa, Boldy will play top minutes on the forward lines and get every opportunity on the team’s power play — a bottom-third power play in the AHL, which was converting at 14.4% entering this past weekend.
It turns out that the power play problems are not exclusive to Minnesota. It runs in the family, right down I-35.
But Boldy made an immediate impact on the power play this weekend. As he gets acclimated to the Iowa system, he didn’t exactly get the top minutes. There are not time-on-ice statistics in the AHL, but it was clear that Boldy was not typically out there with the top forwards on the team. However, he saw plenty of action on the power play.
After a fruitless power play early in the first, Iowa got another opportunity late in the period, and Boldy ended up delivering for his first professional goal.[videopress S3e8Ba6r]
It took over 40 seconds and another zone entry, but as you can see in the full power play above, Boldy was set up to stand in that spot. When the Wild established the puck in the zone and got set up, Boldy was waiting for it. He got a pass from Gerry Mayhew, who was cutting across from the other side of the ice, and one-timed the puck to give Iowa a 3-0 lead.
The following night Boldy scored with another one-timer on the power play. With just over two minutes left in the third, Iowa trailed 4-2 but got a power play. The puck never left the zone, and Calen Addison sent a great cross-ice pass to Boldy, who was in his spot on the right side again. Boldy put the puck into the top corner this time, hitting a bullseye to get the Wild back into the game.
That is not an easy shot to make, and he did. Iowa went on to tie the game in the next minute before losing in overtime.[videopress 305QCk97]
All in all, Iowa went 4-14 on the power play (28.5%) over the weekend to bump their season total to 16.1%. The impact of Boldy gave the power play a boost.
It wasn’t just on the power play where Boldy shined, though. He flashed some brilliance at even strength as well, assisting on Iowa’s fourth goal Friday night as he set up Addison with a great saucer pass.
Two goals and an assist are the official line for Boldy in his first two games. He made an impact, and if he continues to drive the offense for Iowa, a trip up I-35 will certainly soon follow.