ROSEMONT, IL – The Chicago Wolves’ four-game point streak was snapped Sunday afternoon at the Allstate Arena as the Iowa Wild handed them a 6-4 defeat. Reigning AHL leading goal-scorer Wade Megan’s first two goals of the season could not give Chicago its second win in as many nights.
Sam Anas struck first for the visitors just 2:04 into the game as he snapped a rebound past goaltender Michael Leighton. Though the two teams would each register nine shots in the opening frame, the Wild would carry the 1-0 lead into the break.
Disaster seemed to strike the Wolves just 25 seconds into the second period as Brett Sterling, who scored the game-winner the previous night, left a trail of blood as he skated off to medical aid. Luckily for Chicago, Sterling was patched up and would return to finish the remainder of the game. Head coach Rocky Thompson had this to say about the injury.
“We were just hoping that he was okay and we knew he was cut but it wasn’t going to be something in his eye or anything like that. So we were happy to hear that he was going to be okay and come back to the game.”
Chicago was given a four-minute power play as Iowa was assessed a high-sticking double minor, but could not convert. Megan’s first of the season came 7:09 into the second as he became the first Wolves player to solve Niklas Svedberg.
T.J. Tynan would give Chicago a 2-1 lead just two minutes later. Scoring was not finished for the period, however, as Iowa would notch two more in response.
Former Wolves’ captain Pat Cannone became the game’s fourth scorer as he tied the game 13:35 into the second. Kyle Rau gave Iowa the lead just twenty seconds later, and Chicago would not regain it.
The Chicago Wolves had two good chances to tie the game, as Paul Thompson was given a penalty shot after he was interfered with on a breakaway, and then when he later potted a goal into a net which was ruled to be accidentally knocked off. The goal was disallowed, but Chicago was given two minutes of 5-on-3 power play time it could not convert on. However, replay seemed to show Rau had knocked the net off intentionally, and thus that the refs wrongly overturned what should have been a good goal.
Megan’s second goal of the night on the power play four minutes into the third would knot the game at three as his one-timer beat Svedberg. Not to be outscored, Anas’ second goal of the night came when he redirected the pass behind Leighton, and Iowa would hold the lead for the rest of the game.
Alex Grant gave the Wild its first two-goal advantage of the night four minutes later on the power play.
Teemu Pulkkinen pulled the Wolves within one with 2:37 to play. His first goal in eleven games came on a delayed penalty call, and it looked as if Chicago stood a chance to tie and send the game into extra time.
However, Ivan Barbashev took a hooking penalty at 18:35 of the third to effectively seal the deal for the Wolves. Cal O’Reilly would score an empty-net power-play goal with 29 seconds remaining to finalize the game’s 6-4 score.
The Chicago Wolves dropped to 5-10-3-1 on the season with Sunday’s loss.
When asked about how the team bounced back after the two quick Iowa goals in the second and the disallowed goal, Megan had this to say.
“It was just kind of a point of emphasis for us these past couple of days. We just spoke as a team and we knew that those responses are gonna be huge because all of our games have been one-goal games, so those responses after a goal are huge. That’s been a point of emphasis for us.”
Ever one to focus on the next play, Rocky Thompson didn’t carry the disallowed goal into the second intermission.
“I didn’t mention the disallowed goal in the locker room. We were worried about the 5-on-3 in order to come back and win the game so we went over that and we were hoping that we could come out and make up for it with the 5-on-3.”
Though the power play converted once on seven opportunities, Megan was optimistic about the future of the team’s success.
“I think we just need to continue to get traffic in front of the net. We hit at least two posts tonight, maybe even more. We’re doing a lot of the right things, we’re getting traffic at the net, we just have to find a way to start putting some of these in and I think they’ll start to come.”
Rocky Thompson, however, feels more work needs to be done.
“We needed to execute. We needed to execute where we were. You could see we were fighting the puck. We had plays that we could make that we weren’t executing the passes and 3-in-3 has something to do with it a little bit. Our execution was kind of down. But still, we had so many opportunities that we should have done a better job and those guys know.”
After three games in three days, the Wolves have four days before their next game Friday, December 1 at the Rockford IceHogs. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. and as always, be sure to follow @SinBinWolves for up-to-date game coverage and team news.