ROSEMONT, Ill. — The Chicago Wolves rallied from a 3-1 deficit to secure a point in the standings, but the Charlotte Checkers grabbed the game-winner in overtime for a 4-3 victory Thursday night at the Allstate Arena.
Forwards Andrew Gordon, Anton Rodin, and Darren Haydar scored for Chicago, which has dropped back-to-back contests for the first time since Dec. 27 and 29.
“We started off great in the first, but then had some defensive breakdowns and found ourselves down 2-0,” said Wolves head coach Scott Arniel. “It was nice to come back and get a point, but Charlotte is a talented offensive team and we gave them time on the power play and they were able to score in overtime.”
With Chicago (23-16-4-2) entering the third period down 3-2, Haydar knotted the score at three with 1:50 remaining in regulation. Working off the power play, forward Nathan Longpre skated down to the goal line and whipped a pass to the crease. Haydar’s first shot was kicked out by Charlotte netminder Justin Peters, but the Wolves captain fought for the rebound and wasn’t denied on his second attempt.
Charlotte (29-16-2-3) notched the game-winner 1:25 into the extra session when defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani faked a shot from the point, which froze the Wolves defenseman, and instead slid a pass to left wing Chris Terry at the side of the net. He beat Chicago netminder Matt Climie for the power-play winner.
The Checkers jumped out to a 2-0 lead with both goals coming in a three-minute span in the first period. The game’s opening marker came at 8:36 when forward Brett Sutter walked into the slot and his shot was stopped by Climie, but he couldn’t control the rebound and forward Nicolas Blanchard poked the puck over the goal line.
The Checkers second marker came after Climie played a dump-in behind his own net and left wing Justin Soryal beat the Wolves to the puck and tucked the puck past a diving Climie at 11:42.
Chicago cut its deficit to 2-1 with a power-play marker from Gordon at 5:10 of the second period. Defenseman Kevin Connauton’s blast from the near point caught the back glass and the puck bounced back toward the net and Gordon swatted it out of mid-air past Peters.
Peters (19-11-1) thwarted 37 shots for the win.
Charlotte regained its two-goal cushion with a power-play goal at 6:59. Gragnani fired a pass from the near point to the crease when center Riley Nash was standing alone to redirect the pass over Climie’s glove.
Climie (11-13-1) posted 20 saves in overtime and regulation.
Rodin brought the Wolves within one when he found himself all alone in the slot and buried a pass from forward Tim Miller into the back of the net at 15:19 of the second.
The Wolves continue their homestand when they welcome the Lake Erie Monsters to the Allstate Arena at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
– Chicago Wolves