ROSEMONT, IL – Four different goal scorers gave the Chicago Wolves their fifth consecutive win as they downed the Milwaukee Admirals Sunday afternoon 4-2 at the Allstate Arena. Chicago capitalized on rebounds, scoring all three even-strength goals off a second, or even third, chance.
Pierre-Cedric Labrie scored the first goal of the game, potting the rebound off the post and behind Wolves’ goaltender Maxime Lagace. Jake Walman appeared to have tied the game five minutes later, but replay showed his shot went off the crossbar and stayed out.
Beau Bennett would end up with the actual tying goal for Chicago, taking advantage of the rebound off Jake Paterson.
Chicago found its scoring touch in the second, recording two goals on 12 shots. Tobias Lindberg recorded his third goal of the year off another rebound. Walman made it 3-1 Chicago a minute later. This goal actually counted for the defenseman and was the first goal him since 11/19. The Wolves have been struggling to get goals from a defenseman not named Jason Garrison or Griffin Reinhart of late.
Milwaukee came out into the third in a fury. Justin Kirkland went one-on-one with Lagace off the opening faceoff, taking the puck for a breakaway that the goaltender handily gloved. The Admirals recorded 16 shots in the third yet would only close the goal gap by one.
Emil Pettersson brought his team within one goal with seven minutes to play. The Admirals closed the game with a flurry of shots, but Lagace continued to put on a goaltending clinic. Wolves’ captain Paul Thompson recorded an empty-net goal just five seconds after Milwaukee pulled Paterson for the extra attacker, sealing the Wolves’ fifth-straight victory.
Lagace’s 33 saves help improve the Wolves to 11-12-4-1 on the season, while Paterson made 34 saves in his first AHL game of the season.
Walman was satisfied after breaking his scoring drought.
“I was disappointed after the first one, but we bounced back right away. I think the goal that they gave me – I think that Brett Sterling got a piece of it in front, but they gave it to me so that’s always good. We kept rolling from there.”
Rocky Thompson praised the defenseman after the game, saying,
“I thought he played a really good game tonight. I think his game’s been coming – his game without the puck has been steadily getting better all season, which is really good. As you can see we used him late in the game with less than two minutes left and they pulled their goalie, so that’s a credit to him that he’s been adapting and listening and learning and practicing the right way. His offensive game is really starting to come together as well, as you saw tonight, so it was a really good night for him and that was big for our hockey team.”
Lagace is pleased with his winning streak since coming back to Chicago.
“Obviously, it’s nice, but it’s not a one guy effort, it’s a team effort. If the guys weren’t playing good in front of me, I wouldn’t have three wins. Even Kasimir Kaskisuo yesterday played really well and the team played really well. It’s nice to see the team have success.”
During the losing streak, the Wolves struggled to capitalize on rebounds. Capitalizing on them has been one of the most important keys to Chicago’s recent success.
“It’s been huge,” said Rocky. “The last 10 games we’ve talked about it and we really started turning a corner as far as scoring more goals as a result of those things. There was another one there, Beau Bennett I think got another rebound that hit the post tonight. Our guys have been fighting for it. We’ve been practicing those things and now it’s becoming a second nature for us which is great.”
The Chicago Wolves look to extend their winning streak to six games Thursday morning as they take on the division-rival Grand Rapids Griffins at home. Puck drop is scheduled for 11 a.m. CST. As always, be sure to follow @SinBinWolves on Twitter for up-to-date news and game updates.