ROSEMONT, Ill. —The Chicago Wolves reeled off three unanswered third-period goals to force overtime and claimed the 5-4 victory over the Lake Erie Monsters during a six-round shootout Saturday night at Allstate Arena.
Right wing Shane Harper tied the game with 2:48 left in regulation while defensemen Mark Cundari (2G) and Evan Oberg also scored during the late rally. Harper and Pat Cannone delivered in the final two rounds of the shootout for the Wolves (39-19-5-3), who cut their playoff magic number to 4.
“That was a rollercoaster for sure,” said Wolves head coach John Anderson, whose team launched a season-high 50 shots. “I told the team after the second period, ‘Let’s just keep pushing and pushing. If something good happens, it’ll happen. Don’t change what we’re doing.’”
The Wolves broke on top at 2:42 of the first when Cundari unleashed a rising slap shot from the top of the right circle that beat Monsters goaltender Calvin Pickard. Alexandre Bolduc and Cody Beach earned assists on the play.
Lake Erie (28-29-0-9) made it 1-1 on center Mark Olver’s power-play goal at 8:46 of the first. Olver took advantage of a Wolves defenseman playing without his broken stick — as well as a teammate providing traffic in front of the crease — to fire a wrister from the point that beat Climie on his stick side.
The Monsters grabbed a 3-1 lead in the second period with a pair of goals 10 seconds apart. Left wing David van der Gulik started the spree with a power-play goal at 14:53 as he poked home a rebound just as Climie was covering it with his glove. Center Troy Bourke added the next goal at 15:03 as a Chicago player lost the puck in the slot after getting checked from behind. Bourke one-timed the loose puck from the right circle for his second goal of the season.
Lake Erie pushed its margin to 4-1 at 5:13 of the third period on Michael Schumacher’s goal. Stefan Elliott launched a wrister from the right corner that Climie parried with his stick, but Schumacher flew down the left wing to deposit the rebound.
The Wolves launched their comeback with Oberg’s power-play goal from the right circle at 7:03. Ty Rattie set up the play from the point and Oberg whistled a one-timer over Pickard’s glove to make it 4-2. Adam Cracknell also earned an assist.
Cundari’s second goal of the night cut Lake Erie’s margin to 4-3 at 14:41. Pat Cannone cycled the puck from the left point behind the net, where Michael Davies claimed possession and fed Cundari racing down the slot for a close-range blast past Pickard’s glove.
Harper knotted the game at 17:12 as he claimed possession of the puck below the goal line, steered his way to Pickard’s left and lifted a backhander over the netminder’s shoulder.
Matt Climie (9-9-1) stopped 15 shots in regulation and overtime as well as 5 of 6 shootout attempts to earn the win. Pickard (15-16-6) posted 45 saves in regulation and overtime and blocked the Wolves’ first four shootout tries before Harper and Cannone tallied.
The Wolves travel to Rockford for an Illinois Lottery Cup game at 4 p.m. Sunday before returning to Allstate Arena to face Milwaukee at 7 p.m. Tuesday in an Amtrak Rivalry game.
— Chicago Wolves