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ROSEMONT, Ill. — The Chicago Wolves rallied from a two-goal deficit in the third period to tie the score, but the Hamilton Bulldogs scored the game’s final marker to send them to a 3-2 win Saturday night before 14,089 fans at the Allstate Arena.
Forwards Tim Miller and Mike Duco scored for Chicago, which saw its three-game winning streak snapped but remained in first place in the Midwest Division standings.
“Tonight is one of those learning lessons on how to win hockey games,” said Wolves head coach Craig MacTavish. “Hamilton played hard and so did we, but we didn’t play smart enough to win this game. We need to learn to keep our emotions in check and not take ourselves out of what we want to do.”
Hamilton (29-30-2-5) opened scoring with seven seconds remaining in the first period. Center Andreas Engqvist won a faceoff for the Bulldogs back to defenseman T.J. Fast, who snapped a low shot that deflected off a Wolves forward’s skate and past Chicago goaltender Eddie Lack.
The Bulldogs doubled their lead at 2:34 of the third period. Forward Jesse Todd dumped the puck into the Wolves zone and Lack came out to poke-check the puck, but center Robert Slaney beat him to it and flipped a backhand into the empty net.
Chicago (36-25-2-3) cut its deficit to 2-1 1:16 later. Defenseman Yann Sauve’s shot from the near circle hit off a Bulldogs defenseman’s stick and Miller scooped up the loose puck, wrapped around the net, and tucked the puck past Hamilton goaltender Robert Mayer.
The Wolves knotted the score 2-2 when right wing Mark Mancari fired a shot from the side of the net that Mayer stopped, but coughed up a rebound to the top of the crease that Duco was able to slam home at 6:57 of the final frame.
Mayer (9-15-1) stopped 16 of 18 shots in 40 minutes of relief duty after coming on for an injured Nathan Lawson at the start of the second period. Lawson thwarted all 15 shots he faced in the first frame.
Hamilton produced the game-winner while on the power play at 9:28. Right wing Brian Willsie collected a failed Wolves clearing attempt, walked into the high slot, and ripped a slapshot past Lack.
Lack (18-18-3) kicked out 27 of 30 shots.
The Wolves host the Houston Aeros at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Allstate Arena before venturing on a seven-game road trip beginning Thursday, March 29.
– Chicago Wolves