Rosemont, Ill . — The Chicago Wolves home winning streak didn’t make it safely into 2012 as the Charlotte Checkers picked up a 4-1 American Hockey League victory Saturday night before 7,612 at Allstate Arena.
Charlotte goaltender Mike Murphy delivered 29 saves — including 14 during an intense third period — to bring the Wolves five-game home winning streak to a close. Forward Anton Rodin produced Chicago’s goal at 10:24 of the third period.
Kevin Connauton and Chris Tanev earned assists while goaltender Matt Climie stopped 17 shots for the Wolves (16-12-1-3), who finished 2011 with seven wins in their last 10 games.
“I was disappointed with the way we started,” said Wolves head coach Craig MacTavish. “We played a bit better in the second, but we just couldn’t get it done tonight.”
Midwest Division-leading Charlotte (19-11-2-1) took the lead for good on left wing Nicolas Blanchard’s goal at 5:45 of the first period. Defenseman Brett Bellemore fired a shot from the right point toward the slot, where Blanchard deflected the puck past Climie (9-5-0) for the goal.
The Checkers boosted their lead to 2-0 on Jerome Samson’s power-play goal from the point at 12:43 of the second period. Charlotte made it 3-0 late in the second period as center Zach Boychuk tracked down a deflected puck in the left circle and wristed it into the net.
The Wolves goal came at the 10:24 mark of the third period. Connauton, working from the left point, slid a pass to Rodin in the right circle and the rookie from Sweden blasted the puck past Murphy (12-7) for his fourth goal of the season.
The Wolves play their first game of the New Year against Lake Erie at 7 p.m. Saturday at Allstate Arena.
Charlotte: 1, 2, 1 — 4
Chicago: 0, 0, 1 — 1
First Period — 1, Charlotte, Blanchard 3 (Bellemore), 5:45. Penalties—Roy, Charlotte (fighting), 10:31; Roussel, Chicago (fighting), 10:31.
Second Period — 2, Charlotte, Samson 14 (McNicoll, Terry), 12;43 pp. 3, Charlotte, Boychuk 11 (Sutter, Bellemore), 18;43. Penalties—Testwuide, Chicago (interference), 11:13; Krueger, Charlotte (tripping), 13:55; Nash, Charlotte (tripping), 15:10.
Third Period — 4, Chicago, Rodin 4 (Connauton, Tanev), 10:24; 5, Charlotte, Sutter 5 (Roy, Durno), 18:14 en. Penalties—Durno, Charlotte (high-sticking), 5:02.
Shots on goal — Charlotte: 9-8-4—21. Chicago: 6-8-15—29. Power plays—Charlotte 1-1. Chicago 0-3. Goalies—Charlotte, Murphy (28-29). Chicago, Climie (17-20). A—7,612. Referee—Brett Montsion. Linesmen—Aaron Mills and Al Stensland.
(Courtesy of Chicago Wolves)