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Wild can't dig out of three-goal hole in Traverse City defeat

All four teams in Ted Lindsay Division enter final day of round-robin play with a 1-1 record

by Dan Myers @DanMyers /

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Wild prospects fell into a three-goal hole midway through its game Saturday against the New York Rangers and couldn't dig out in an eventual 4-2 loss in Minnesota's second game at the Traverse City Prospects Tournament at Centre Ice Arena.

New York got one goal in the first and two more in the second to build a 3-0 advantage before the Wild could really get anything going offensively. 

Midway through the second, something changed.

The Wild carried play for much of the next 20 minutes -- the final half of the second and the first part of the third -- closing to within one goal on a tally by Jordan Greenway early in the final period.

Unfortunately for the Wild, it couldn't capitalize on a number of power-play chances late, including an extended 5-on-3 advantage.

"Everyone is responsible for themselves, right, and as a group, we started slow," said Wild defenseman Louie Belpedio. "But midway through, I think we found our way. We had plenty of chances to tie it up or even go ahead, but their goalie played pretty well."

Dmitry Sokolov also scored a goal for Minnesota, getting the Wild on the board with a power-play goal in the final minute of the second period.

Tweet from @IAWild: .@WildJoeRadio is back behind the camera after tonight���s game in Traverse City! Check in with @GFitzgerald21 ������

It was a nice reward for the team after it picked up the pace just past the midway point of the game. The Wild started the second period by going more than seven minutes without as much as a shot on goal, and had just six shots on Rangers goaltender Jeremy Brodeur when New York's Ville Meskanen made it 3-0 at 11:04 of the second.

But following back-to-back penalties on the Rangers, Mason Shaw dished down low to Sokolov, who wheeled around the net and snuck the puck between Brodeur and the post at 19:44.

The Wild carried that momentum into the third, drawing within a goal on a snap shot by Greenway from the slot following a fantastic pass by Gerry Fitzgerald, drawing the defenseman to him in a 2-on-1 rush and somehow threading a pass to Greenway all by himself.

It was Greenway's first goal of the tournament and third point after he assisted on two goals Friday against Detroit. It was also Fitzgerald's third point of the weekend.

Sokolov now has two goals in the tournament, both of which have come with the man advantage.

Fitzgerald nearly tied the game on a one-timer from the left circle with under a minute remaining in regulation, seconds before Ryan Lindgren iced the game for the Rangers with an empty-net goal. 

Combined with Detroit's win over the Dallas Stars on Saturday, all four teams in the Ted Lindsay Division enter the final day of round-robin play with a 1-1 record. Following an off day on Sunday, the Wild will face the Stars at 2:30 p.m. CT on Monday, while the Rangers will play the Red Wings. 

If the Wild and Red Wings each score victories, Minnesota will play in the tournament championship game on Tuesday evening. Wins by Minnesota and New York on Monday would put the Wild in the third-place game. 

A loss by Minnesota would relegate it to a Tuesday afternoon game for either fifth or seventh place. 

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