Wolves Fall Short In Fierce Midwest Division Battle
ROSEMONT, Ill.—The Chicago Wolves and Milwaukee Admirals exchanged goals for much of their intense Amtrak Rivalry game on Saturday night, but Milwaukee registered back-to-back scores in the third period to claim a 4-3 win at Allstate Arena.
Wolves captain Darren Haydar and defensemen Kevin Connauton and Mark Matheson scored goals for the Wolves (32-24-5-4), who dropped from a seventh-place tie with the Admirals into ninth place in the Western Conference standings. The top eight qualify for the playoffs.
“It is now six times we have lost to Milwaukee in the third period,” said Wolves head coach Scott Arniel. “As much as we try and talk about it and change things, we still haven’t found a way to beat those guys.”
Milwaukee (34-25-4-3) opened the scoring at 8:54 of the first period on the game’s first power-play opportunity. Defenseman Mattias Ekholm claimed the puck in the slot and snapped a shot directly at Wolves goaltender Matt Climie, but Admirals center Austin Watson extended his stick to deflect the puck around Climie into the net.
Haydar evened the score at 14:02 when he accepted a pass from Eric Kattelus across the blue line, skated into the far circle and, using defenseman Ryan Ellis to limit Admirals goaltender Magnus Hellberg’s vision, wristed a shot past Hellberg on the stick-side. Defenseman Adam Polasek also picked up an assist on the play.
Milwaukee regained the lead on right wing Daniel Bang’s goal at 7:38 of the second period. Right wing Patrick Cehlin stick-handled past a Wolves defenseman, attacked the crease and fed the puck to Bang, who squeezed a shot from close range past two diving Wolves.
Chicago received a series of power-play chances in the second period and benefited from the man-advantage at 15:27 to make it 2-2. Connauton controlled Haydar’s pass on the blue line, skated two strides toward the slot and gunned a shot past Hellberg’s stick. Haydar and Bill Sweatt earned the assists.
The Admirals picked up their third lead of the night when Watson’s harmless centering pass from the near circle banked off a Wolves defender’s skate into the net at 7:25 of the third. Milwaukee’s Juuso Puustinen added an insurance goal on the power play at 16:25.
The Wolves closed within 4-3 with 53 seconds remaining when a mad scramble in front of Hellberg sent the puck back to Matheson, who wristed home the puck from the near circle. Brett Sterling and Sweatt were credited with the assists.
Hellberg (15-10-0) registered 25 saves, including a point-blank stop against Matheson in the final second, to pick up the win. Climie (19-20-3) saved 13 of 17 shots for the Wolves.