ROSEMONT, Ill. — The Chicago Wolves rallied from a 3-0 deficit, but surrendered a power-play goal with 60 seconds left and an empty-net tally as they dropped a 5-3 Illinois Lottery Cup decision to the Peoria Rivermen Saturday night at the Allstate Arena.
Forwards Eric Kattelus, Andrew Gordon, and Anton Rodin posted tallies for Chicago, which lost to Peoria for the fifth time in six games this season. The loss marked just the Wolves third defeat in their last 10 outings.
“We played very poorly in the first period and Peoria jumped all over us,” said Wolves head coach Scott Arniel. “It would have been nice to earn a point after battling back, but we kind of got what we deserved tonight.”
After trailing 3-0 25:19 into the contest, the Wolves battled all the way back to tie the score at three when Rodin scored at 13:59 of the third period. But with the Rivermen getting a power play in the closing minutes of regulation, defenseman Mark Cundari’s shot from the high slot beat screened Wolves goaltender Joe Cannata and ended the Wolves comeback hopes.
Peoria (20-19-3-2) opened scoring while the teams were skating four a side at 16:13 of the first period. Center Adam Cracknell and forward Phil McRae worked a give-and-go into the Wolves zone and McRae sprung Cracknell into the slot, where Cracknell flipped a shot under the bar and over Cannata’s glove.
The Rivermen doubled their lead with a short-handed marker three minutes into the second frame. Cracknell’s shot was stopped by Cannata but, as he and Wolves defender tried to corral the rebound, Cracknell poked the puck into the middle of the crease where center Brett Sonne jumped on it and tapped it home.
Left wing Chris Porter gave Peoria a 3-0 lead at 5:19 of the middle frame when the Rivermen forced a Wolves turnover and Porter stepped into the high slot and ripped a shot past a screened Cannata.
Cannata (4-3-0) stopped 29 of 33 shots.
The Chicago (21-15-3-2) rally from a 3-0 deficit was started by Kattelus, who scored a power-play goal at 10:00 of the second period. Left wing Darren Archibald’s shot from the near point hit a Peoria defenseman and Kattelus was able to get his stick on it from his back and popped the puck over the shoulder of Rivermen goaltender Jake Allen.
Gordon brought the Wolves within one when he entered the Rivermen zone and wristed a shot from the top of the near circle that beat a screened Allen at 9:11.
Allen (12-16-2) posted 33 saves.
The Wolves return to the ice against Peoria at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 5, at the Allstate Arena in the team’s final School-Day game of the season.