Rosemont, Ill.—The Chicago Wolves scored two goals in the final 3:04 of regulation to force overtime and then claimed the shootout to earn a 6-5 triumph Wednesday night at Allstate Arena.
Forwards Keith Aucoin and Mike Davies earned the late regulation tallies for the Wolves (38-19-5-3), who also received goals from left wing Sergey Andronov and defensemen Joel Edmundson and Doug Janik. Ty Rattie and Adam Cracknell delivered in the shootout while Jake Allen stopped all four attempts he faced.
“The guys on the bench were very calm, very confident,” said Wolves head coach John Anderson. “I like that about our team. It was like, ‘There’s three-and-a-half minutes left. OK, we’ve got lots of time.’ I liked our poise.”
The Wolves wasted little time getting on the scoreboard against Lake Erie goaltender Sami Aittokallio, the reigning American Hockey League player of the week who entered the night without allowing a goal in his last 172 minutes, 54 seconds.
Just 1:01 into the game, defenseman Evan Oberg carried the puck down the left wing and found Andronov open in the high slot for a quick wrister that whizzed past Aittokallio’s glove. Cracknell also earned an assist on the play.
Lake Erie (28-28-0-8) answered at 2:56 of the first as Andrew Agozzino rushed into the zone and dropped the puck back for left wing David van der Gulik, who ripped a shot from the top of the right circle that eluded Allen’s blocker.
The Monsters’ van der Gulik added another goal just 21 seconds later as he picked up an errant pass at the blue line, skated down the slot and wristed a shot that Allen deflected, but could not control.
Lake Erie pushed its lead to 3-1 at 9:34 of the first on Stefan Elliott’s goal that came during a scrum in the crease as he converted his own rebound.
Edmundson pulled the Wolves within 3-2 at 5:44 of the second with his rocket from the top of the left circle. Nathan Longpre set it up by driving the puck down the left wing beyond the goal line and backhanding a pass to the defenseman. Taylor Chorney added an assist.
The Wolves made it 3-3 at 9:01 of the second as Aucoin carried the puck into the zone and waited patiently at the left point for the play to develop. When Janik set up at the blue line, Aucoin fed him a pass for a blast that benefited from Cracknell’s presence in front of Aittokallio.
Lake Erie regained a 4-3 edge with 11 seconds left in the second period when Michael Schumacher intercepted Allen’s clearing pass in the slot and flipped it into the untended net.
Former Wolves forward Guillaume Desbiens notched what appeared to be an insurance goal for the Monsters at 14:16 of the third as he chipped a bouncing puck into the top-right corner of the net.
The Wolves cut the margin to 5-4 at 16:56 as Aucoin redirected Mark Cundari’s shot from the left faceoff circle through Aittokallio’s legs.
Davies knotted the game at 18:02 as he accepted Shane Harper’s pass from behind the net and stretched his stick around Aittokallio’s glove to deliver the equalizer.
Allen (29-15-2) stopped 30 of 35 shots during regulation and overtime and all four he faced in the shootout. Aittokallio (12-11-3) posted 28 saves in regulation and overtime and went 2-for-4 in the shootout.