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Wild Prospects Score Five Unanswered in Comeback Win at Traverse City

Kunin's second of the third period caps furious late-game rally in tournament lid-lifter

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers / Wild.com

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- The Minnesota Wild scored five unanswered goals over a span of 8:04 during the third period on Friday in a 6-5, come-from-behind victory over the St. Louis Blues in the opening game of the Traverse City Prospects Tournament at Centre Ice Arena. 

Down 5-1 with just under half of the final period remaining, Luke Kunin scored his first of two goals to get the comeback started. Joel Eriksson Ek added another with four minutes remaining, the first of three straight goals Minnesota's prospects scored with the extra attacker. 

Gerald Mayhew got the Wild within 5-4 before Giorgio Estephan tied the game with just under two minutes left in regulation.

Eriksson Ek, Mayhew and Estephan's goals came during a span of just 2:24.  

With the potential of overtime drawing near, Kunin tallied his second of the period, capping a 2-on-1 rush with a snipe that went bar-down to beat Blues goaltender Evan Fitzpatrick with just over a minute left. 

St. Louis pulled Fitzpatrick in the final minute but couldn't muster a final push. 

Tweet from @IAWild: Wild shocks Blues with 6-5 comeback win ��� https://t.co/HRZqaVyckZhttps://t.co/SRPVdKrzU5

"Pretty neat," said Iowa coach Derek Lalonde, serving as head coach for the Wild prospects in the tournament. "You only have so much time with the guys, and structure is one thing and you emphasize compete level, but we talked about [how] we also wanted this tournament to be about winning."

Minnesota went winless in its first three games here last year, Lalonde's first behind the bench in Iowa, before winning the tournament's seventh-place game. 

Things looked bleak again for the Wild on Friday after the Blues scored three goals in the span of six or seven shifts during the second period, turning a tie game into a 4-1 advantage. Ivan Lodnia scored a first-period goal for Minnesota as the Wild and Blues were tied at 1 after one.

Blues prospect Klim Kostin scored his second goal of the afternoon 4:38 into the third period to make it a 5-1 game. Kunin scored just over six minutes after that to kickstart the rally.

"I think it kind of went back and forth," Kunin said. "In the second period, we started real hot then it just got away from us. In the third, we decided to get back to keeping it simple, doing the little things and next best shift and it worked out for us."

Eriksson Ek, Kunin, Mayhew and Mason Shaw each finished with multi-point games, with Shaw assisting on Lodnia's first-period tally and on Estephan's tying goal. Goaltender Adam Vay stopped 24 shots.

Minnesota will continue the tournament with the second day of round-robin play on Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets, who won 7-2 against the Dallas Stars on Friday. 

Faceoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CT, with the game live streamed on FOX Sports GO and Wild.com. Fans outside of the Fox Sports North viewing area can also view the game on NHL.com.

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