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Down on the Farm: New arrivals help Iowa snap skid ahead of big weekend

Iowa can clinch a playoff spot for the first time with a pair of victories in Des Moines this weekend

by Dan Myers @MNWildScribe / Wild.com

Video: Wild forwards quickly find a role in Iowa

Ryan Donato scored two goals and assisted on three others as Iowa won 7-3 over Grand Rapids on Wednesday night.

How about that for a debut with a new team?

Donato, playing with Iowa for the first time, helped Iowa end an eight-game losing streak and vault back into a playoff spot in the AHL's Central Division heading into the club's final weekend of the season.

Donato, Luke Kunin and Jordan Greenway were each assigned to Iowa on Tuesday as Minnesota's season concluded short of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

Iowa coach Tim Army decided to keep the trio together on a line and as a power play unit. 

Needless to say, it paid off.

Video: Locker clean out: Donato

In addition to Donato's five-point game, Kunin had a hat trick and Greenway assisted on two goals. Together, they combined for 11 points as Iowa won for the first time since March 20.

During that span, Iowa dropped from third place in the Central and an almost certain spot in the playoffs, to fifth place and a tenuous position outside of the postseason.

Kunin became the first player in team history to record two hat tricks in a Wild sweater. It was the sixth three-goal game by an Iowa player this season.

The 2018-19 season has already been the best in team history. It's 83 points are the most Iowa has ever had, and now in its sixth season in Des Moines, Iowa is in search of its first-ever playoff spot.

Video: Iowa: Army, Read on Kunin, Donato, Greenway

The victory, along with Texas' unexpected loss to San Antonio on Wednesday, allows the Wild to control its own destiny heading into the final weekend. 

Iowa will be at home at Wells Fargo Arena for back-to-back games against Chicago on Friday and Rockford on Saturday. If Iowa wins both games, it will more than likely reach the playoffs with little help elsewhere.

But that won't be an easy task.

Chicago, the AHL affiliate for the Vegas Golden Knights, is fighting for home ice throughout the Western Conference playoffs. 

Rockford, affiliate for the Chicago Blackhawks, is simply fighting for its playoff lives. The Ice Hogs enter the weekend three points back of the Wild with three teams to jump over to make the playoffs. They must win each of their final two games and get a ton of help.

Fans in search of some meaningful hockey should consider a trip down Interstate 35 this weekend. Tickets can be purchased here and Devin Dawson will be performing after the game on Saturday against Rockford.

If you can't be there in person, you can stream the action by visiting watchtheahl.com. A number of packages, including single-day viewing, are available.

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