Abbotsford, B.C. — The Chicago Wolves enjoyed their performance so much on Tuesday night at Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre, they authored a strikingly similar start Wednesday night to trigger a 5-0 victory in British Columbia.
Wolves center Steve Reinprecht scored the game’s first two goals for the second night in a row before a crowd laced with Vancouver Canucks fans eager to see the franchise’s top affiliate.
Jordan Schroeder (G, A), Bill Sweatt (G, A), and Anton Rodin (2A) added multiple-point efforts while goaltender Eddie Lack (10-11-3) parried 29 Abbotsford shots to earn his second shutout of the season.
The Wolves (23-16-1-3) became the fifth Western Conference team to reach the 50-point mark this season and registered the franchise’s largest victory margin since a 9-3 home triumph over Toronto on Jan. 5, 2011.
For the second straight night against the Heat (25-16-3-0), Reinprecht delivered the opening goal with assists from Mark Mancari and Anton Rodin. After Reinprecht battled to control the puck behind the Abbotsford net, Mancari took a Rodin pass near the end line and threaded the puck to Reinprecht. He ignored two Heat defenders on his back and redirected the pass into the goal.
Two minutes later, Reinprecht did all of the credited work to score his fourth goal in four periods. With Abbotsford on the power play, his poke check in the defensive zone led to his own breakaway. While Heat goalie Danny Taylor stopped the first shot, Reinprecht deposited the rebound over his shoulder for a 2-0 lead at the 6:33 mark of the first. Taylor (14-11-0) was removed from the game after that tally.
The Wolves built a 3-0 lead for the second successive night as Sweatt and Darren Haydar orchestrated a rush into the offensive end. Sweatt dropped a pass back into the left circle for an open Schroeder, who snapped a wicked shot over backup goalie Joni Ortio’s shoulder at the 12:57 mark of the first.
Chicago maintained the pressure in the second period and Sweatt cashed in a power-play goal as he deked Ortio from close range and flipped home a backhander at 8:14 for a 4-0 advantage. Rodin and Schroeder earned assists on Sweatt’s 10th goal of the season.
British Columbia native Stefan Schneider produced a highlight moment in his home province as he racked up his third goal of the season at 13:00 of the third period. Mike Duco set up Schneider on the 2-on-1 rush.
The Wolves return to the ice at 7 p.m. Friday when they visit Milwaukee for an Amtrak Rivalry contest. It’s the team’s final game before the American Hockey League’s All-Star break. Their next home appearance is Friday, Feb. 3, against Rockford.
Chicago 3 1 1 — 5
Abbotsford 0 0 0 — 0
First Period—1, Chicago, Reinprecht 7 (Mancari, Rodin), 4:22; 2, Chicago, Reinprecht 8 (unassisted), 6:33 sh; 3, Chicago, Schroeder 12 (Sweatt, Haydar), 12:57. Penalties—Sweatt, Chicago (interference), 4:57; Sauve, Chicago (holding), 8:05; Blackwater, Abbotsford (boarding), 17:44.
Second Period—4, Chicago, Sweatt 10 (Rodin, Schroeder), 8:14 pp. Penalties—Aliu, Abbotsford (cross-checking), 6:23; Sauve, Chicago (tripping), 12:15.
Third Period—5, Chicago, Schneider 3 (Duco), 13:00. Penalties—Connauton, Chicago (holding), 11:00; Letourneau-Leblond, Abbotsford (interference), 15:43.
Shots on goal—Chicago: 14-12-2—28; Abbotsford: 7-8-14—29. Power plays—Chicago: 1-3; Abbotsford: 0-4. Goalies—Chicago, Lack (29-29); Abbotsford, Taylor (3-5), Ortio (20-23). A—5,216. Referees—Trent Knorr and Marcus Vinnerborg. Linesmen—Kiel Murchison and Chris Carlson.