Rosemont, Ill.—The Chicago Wolves reeled off the first five goals in the opening 25 minutes and withstood a Grand Rapids fusillade to earn a 6-2 victory in an important Midwest Division matchup Sunday afternoon before 11,388 at Allstate Arena.
Rookie right wing Ty Rattie scored twice in the opening period while forwards Adam Cracknell, Michael Davies, Pat Cannone and Cody Beach added goals for Chicago. Jake Allen’s 41 saves tied his season high as the Wolves (37-19-5-3) pulled within 6 points of division-leading Grand Rapids (41-19-2-4) with two games in hand.
“I thought we played very disciplined (in the first period),” said Wolves head coach John Anderson. “Held the puck well. Did exactly what we wanted to do and made some good offensive plays.”
The Wolves opened the scoring at 4:19 of the first as they took advantage of getting two bodies in front of Grand Rapids goaltender Petr Mrazek. Defenseman Doug Janik whistled a wrister from the point that was re-directed by Sergey Andronov and then Cracknell into the net.
Chicago added Davies’ power-play goal at 6:49 as Janik and Mark Cundari worked the puck around the box to Davies along the goal line. He attacked the goal, made a move and stuffed the puck past Mrazek for a 2-0 lead.
The Wolves pushed the lead to 3-0 at 11:55 of the first when Alexandre Bolduc claimed an errant pass and shoveled it ahead to Rattie at the red line. Rattie cruised down the right side, waited for traffic to build in front of Mrazek, skated into the slot, and flipped a backhand home. Grand Rapids responded by removing Mrazek in favor of Tom McCollum.
Rattie and Bolduc hooked up for another goal at 18:05 of the first as Bolduc claimed a Grand Rapids turnover behind the net and lunged to deliver a backhand pass to Rattie, who was waiting in front of the crease to knock it past McCollum.
Cannone gave the Wolves a 5-0 margin at 4:15 of the second when he skated from the top of the left circle toward the right circle and fired a wrister that McCollum never saw due to the traffic in front of the net.
Grand Rapids got on the board at 7:03 of the second as Griffins rookie Teemu Pulkkinen rifled home a slap shot on the power play, which ended the Wolves’ streak of 25 consecutive penalty kills spread over 436 minutes, 9 seconds. Grand Rapids’ Mitch Callahan added another power-play strike at 14:56 of the second to cut the margin to 5-2.
Beach gave the Wolves an insurance goal at 13:32 when he corralled an errant clearing attempt at the blue line, passed the puck between his legs to get around a Griffins defenseman and attacked the crease to slam home his unassisted goal.
Allen (28-15-2) stopped 33 of 35 shots in the final two periods to earn his league-leading 28th victory. Mrazek (19-6-1) took the loss with 5 saves on 8 shots. McCollum rejected 11 of 14 attempts.