CLEVELAND, OHIO – The Chicago Wolves faced off against the Cleveland Monsters Thursday night at Quicken Loans Arena in the second of two mid-week matchups between the Central Division teams.
Halfway through the first, Paul Thompson put the visitors ahead when he snagged a rebound and beat goaltender Jeff Zatkoff, putting the puck in just barely over the goal line. A subsequent review confirmed it was a good goal, and the Wolves had early momentum.
Before the end of the first, Tomas Hyka doubled Chicago’s lead when he forced a turnover in the Cleveland zone, faked out Zatkoff and carefully slid it between his legs. The Wolves found themselves up 2-0 after twenty minutes of play even though they were outshot 14-11.
Jake Bischoff continued his recent surge in offensive contribution when he sniped a one-timer in from the point off the faceoff. In his last 14 games, Bischoff has four goals and five assists, almost half his total points on the season (5 G, 14 A).
While the Wolves found themselves with a commanding 3-0 lead at just 3:54 of the second, Terry Broadhurst continued to find success against the Chicago Wolves. Just two minutes after Bischoff’s goal, the elder Broadhurst brother tipped Alex Broadhurst’s shot in past Max Lagace for his third goal in two games against Chicago.
However, Captain Paul Thompson regained the three-goal lead for his team halfway through the game when he scored on a breakaway, beating Zatkoff glove side. Once again outshot, but not outscored, the Wolves entered the third up 4-1.
One of the biggest facets of Wolves head coach Rocky Thompson’s coaching philosophy has been to never take your foot off the pedal, no matter how comfortable you might feel with a lead.
This was once again evident Thursday, when Brandon Pirri scored on the power play for the away team at 5:24 of the third. The Wolves leading goal scorer recorded his 26th of the season when he quickly snapped the puck between the elbow and glove of Zatkoff and put the final nail in the game’s coffin. Chicago would end the game 5-1 victors, taking four of four points on the road against a Cleveland team which has been surprisingly dominant recently.
Lagace made 39 saves in the winning effort, stonewalling many attempts which should have been easy goals for the home team. Though the final score shows one thing, Lagace played very well to keep his team the comfortable cushion for his team.
The Wolves went 1-for-2 on the power play and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill, a special teams performance Rocky’s team has been needing for a bit now.
Winners of three in a row, the Wolves (36-20-7-2) appear to have their groove back as they look to hunt down the Manitoba Moose for the first spot in the Central Division.
The Chicago Wolves next travel to Rockford Saturday to take on the IceHogs for the third time in two weeks. Puck drop is scheduled for 6 p.m. CST. Rockford has won the last two meetings between the teams.
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