ROSEMONT, Ill. – The Chicago Wolves eked out a win against the Cleveland Monsters at the Allstate Arena Thursday night by a score of 4-3. The game saw extreme success and failure by all special teams involved as each team recorded three power-play goals.
Teemu Pulkkinen opened scoring for the home team at 5:57 of the first period when he took advantage of a scramble in front of Monsters goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks. The forward poked the rebound through traffic to record his 13th goal of the season on the power play.
Before the end of the first, the Wolves would jump out to a 2-0 lead thanks to the combination of Wade Megan and Mackenzie MacEachern. Megan was fed a stretch pass which he took and dangled around a Monsters defender en route to the goal. MacEachern easily potted the rebound for his sixth of the year.
The second period featured the two teams trading power-play goals, with the visitors striking first. Terry Broadhurst tipped Nathan Gerbe’s shot through the five-hole of Oscar Dansk, who was playing in his first game for the Wolves since October 7, 2017.
Tomas Hyka regained the two-goal lead for Chicago when his point shot cleanly worked its way past Kivlenieks. It was the younger Broadhurst brother, Alex Broadhurst, however, who would get the third and final power-play tally of the period.
The game’s power-play goals continued into the third period as Pulkkinen fed T.J. Tynan to give the Wolves their third two-goal lead at just 1:37. Terry Broadhurst recorded his second power-play goal of the game three minutes later when Tynan failed to pick up his defender and the pass from Carter Camper found the elder Broadhurst right in front of Dansk.
Though the Monsters pulled Kivlenieks for the extra attacker with two minutes remaining, the Wolves were able to keep the Broadhurst-powered offense from tying the game.
With the win, the Wolves extended their franchise home winning streak record to 13 games even while taking seven penalties throughout the game.
Dansk recorded 35 saves as he backstopped the Wolves to his first AHL win of the season. After having a lot of forced time off due to injury, the goaltender was honest about how it felt to be back.
“Nerves? Yeah, a little bit. I mean, I was antsy to get out there and play well. I’ve given some time here to practice and get into my game a little bit, but I felt pretty good. I wasn’t always pretty, but the important thing is that we won and got two points.”
Head coach Rocky Thompson was extremely happy with the way the netminder looked in his first game back, saying,
“I just thought he did a great job. I think he’s practiced hard. He’s been ready for this. And at the end of the day, he’s been in a way higher-pressure situation than this earlier in the year when he was put in that starting position with the Vegas Golden Knights… and Oscar did a great job [then].”
Though the Wolves gave up three power-play goals on seven attempts, they were 3-for-5 on power-play chances of their own. After the game, Pulkkinen credited the success to two things – practice and luck.
“We had a new unit. We practiced this week, we had a lot of time to practice [it]. I think we had like three really good practices on the power play and I don’t know. We made some good plays, too, sometimes it happens and we were fortunate to get some goals.”
Though the Wolves were able to walk away with a win while taking seven penalties, they will have to tighten things up if they want to take two points against the San Antonio Rampage Saturday and two more against the Monsters Sunday.
Thompson did not seem extremely concerned by his team’s sloppy play during the game.
“I think at the end of the day we played three games in the last 12 days and that’s it. Where we’re used to playing every other night, maybe two days in between. We had a very heavy schedule through November, December and January, really, and we were just in a groove and feeling good so even though we didn’t play our best tonight, it was nice to get a win and to feel that again.”
The Chicago Wolves next take on the San Antonio Rampage at home Saturday. This meeting of the two Blues prospect teams is set for a 7 p.m. puck drop.
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