PEORIA, Ill. — Matt Climie didn’t merely provide stellar goaltending for the Chicago Wolves on Friday night. He triggered the attack for a squad that entered the game ranked 29th out of 30 American Hockey League teams in scoring.
Not only did Climie’s long pass earn the lone assist on Anton Rodin’s power-play breakaway at the 4:51 mark of the second period, it loosened up the Wolves offense for a 2-1 win over Peoria in an Illinois Lottery Cup contest at Carver Arena.
Jordan Schroeder added the unassisted game-winning goal late in the second period — just the second time this season the Wolves scored twice in the same frame — and the Wolves (4-5-0-2) produced several other prime chances to earn a split of their back-to-back games in Peoria.
Climie (2-2-0), who was peppered with 4 shots in the opening 40 seconds, had to work hard all night and finished with 29 saves.
But his vision made a difference on offense as well. He noticed an untimely Peoria line change and threaded a pass to the far blue line for Rodin, who raced in unimpeded and lifted a shot over Jake Allen’s glove.
Rodin’s first AHL goal doubled as the Wolves’ first power-play goal in 22 chances dating back to the Oct. 21 game against Rockford.
Peoria (5-5-1-1) answered quickly as Brett Sterling’s shot ricocheted off defenseman Yann Sauve’s skate and went straight to Derek Nesbitt, who found an open net for his sixth goal of the year.
Just 43 seconds before the second period ended, Schroeder and Mark Mancari worked hard to poke the puck free from an uncertain Peoria defenseman. Schroeder gained control at close range and lifted a shot that clanged off the bar and in for his second goal of the season.
Peoria’s Jake Allen (0-3-1) posted 25 saves. The Wolves, who were perfect on their 6 penalty kills, continue their road trip with their earliest start of the 2011-12 season — a 9 a.m. game on Tuesday at Hamilton.
First Period—None. Penalties—Bench, Chicago (too many men; served by Schroeder), 5:59; Sweatt, Chicago (hooking), 8:23; Schroeder, Chicago (tripping), 17:36.
Second Period—1, Chicago, Rodin 1 (Climie), 4:51, pp; 2, Peoria, Nesbitt 6 (Sterling, Hensick), 6:19; 3. Schroeder 2 (unassisted). Penalties—Cundari, Peoria (tripping), 4:09; Duco, Chicago (hooking), 7:01; Cracknell, Peoria (goaltender interference), 8:51; Cundari, Peoria (tripping) 16:18.
Third Period—None. Penalties—Mancari, Chicago (double minor, roughing), 6:27; Sonne, Peoria (roughing), 6:27; Cundari, Peoria (tripping), 10:36; Doell, Chicago (hooking), 19:47.
Shots on goal—Chicago: 7-9-11—27. Peoria: 11-7-12—30. Power plays—Chicago 1-4. Peoria 0-6. Goalies—Chicago, Climie (29-30). Peoria, Allen (25-27). A—4,605. Referees—Jean Hebert and Joe Sullivan. Linesmen—Aaron Mills and Craig Kneale.
(Courtesy of Chicago Wolves)