Coralville, Iowa – Iowa Heartlanders forward Steven Leonard scored two goals and a registered a fighting major in his ECHL season debut, a 5-1 victory over the Wheeling Nailers Friday at Xtream Arena. He signed with the team Wednesday from the SPHL’s Pensacola Ice Flyers. Both his goals came in the final two minutes of the third to ice the game and make it 5-1.Before the Leonard strike, Iowa added needed insurance with four minutes to go, taking a 3-1 edge on a breakaway backhanded beauty from Tyler Busch.Leonard also fought at the three-second mark of the first period, coming an assist shy of the Gordie Howe Hat Trick.Tanner MacMaster opened the scoring with his first goal of the season 11:34 into the first period. Yuki Miura passed the puck from behind the Wheeling net to net-front where MacMaster slapped it past the glove of Brad Barone (loss, 25 saves) to give Iowa the 1-0 lead.The scoring continued at the 1:19 mark in the second when Busch delivered a backhanded feed to Michael Pastujov who tipped it past the right pad of Barone to give the Heartlanders the 2-0 lead.
The Nailers' lone goal came at 2:14 into the third off a tipped pass from Gianluca Esteves that found Brooklyn Kalmikov who snuck it past the right pad of Hunter Jones to make it, 2-1.
Jones stopped 23 of 24 shots between the pipes for his 4th win of the season.
Iowa and Wheeling rematch Saturday at 7:05 p.m.Box Score View the team’s full promotional schedule at iowaheartlanders.com/promotions. Feb. 17 – Feb. 19 is is Iowa’s Cancer Awareness Series, honoring those that have fought, are currently fighting or have battled cancer. Specialty theme jerseys will be worn for the weekend and are available for purchase inclusive of a postgame meet-and-greet on the DASH App. The games against Wheeling are Fri., Feb. 17 at 7:05 p.m., Sat. Feb. 18 at 7:05 p.m. and Sun., Feb. 19 at 2:05 p.m.The Heartlanders continue the home stand Feb. 22, Feb. 24 and Feb. 25 vs. Indy for Iowa’s Diversity Awareness Series, celebrating how sports bring us together. The Heartlanders will demonstrate their commitment to create and environment that fosters inclusion for all. Games take place Wed., Feb. 22 vs. Indy at 7:05 p.m., Fri., Feb. 24 at 7:05 p.m. vs. Kalamazoo and Sat., Feb. 25 at 7:05 p.m. vs. Kalamazoo.Single-game tickets, group ticket options, partial plans and season ticket memberships are available for Heartlanders home games at Xtream Arena. Call 319-569-GOAL or visit iowaheartlanders.com/tickets for more information.