ROCHESTER, N.Y. — It did not take long for left wing Dmitrij Jaskin’s presence in the Chicago Wolves lineup to be felt. Reassigned to the Wolves on Friday morning after six weeks away, Jaskin’s goal 1:06 into overtime gave Chicago a 4-3 win over Rochester in Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals at Blue Cross Arena.
The Wolves (1-0) trailed 3-1 for more than 33 minutes, but received goals from right wing Sebastian Wannstrom and defenseman Mark Cundari in the final 4:50 of regulation and a first-period marker from defenseman Brent Regner along with Jaskin’s winner to take the lead in the best-of-five series.
Rochester (0-1) opened scoring with two quick goals on Wolves goaltender Jake Allen (1-0). A high wrist shot from the blue line by Americans defenseman Nick Crawford was tipped low and through Allen’s five-hole by right wing Joel Armia for the first marker of the series at 14:09.
Less than two minutes later with the momentum in the home-team Americans’ favor, left wing Nick Deslauriers buried a shot top-shelf. His laser from high in the zone evaded a screened Allen for a 2-0 lead at 15:51.
The Wolves did not sit back, cutting the deficit in half late in the opening frame with a power-play goal of their own. Regner accepted a pass at the point from center Pat Cannone and blasted a shot on net that bobbled up and over the glove of American goaltender Andrey Makarov at 18:45.
Rochester charged back in the second period and regained a two-goal lead on the man advantage. Left wing Luke Adam carried the puck low in the zone and threw a bad-angle shot on net that caromed off another player at 1:47 to make the score 3-1.
Wannstrom made it 3-2 with a shorthanded goal with 4:50 remaining in regulation. Regner cleared the puck from Chicago’s defensive zone and it hit the boards behind Makarov awkwardly and bounced back into the slot, where Wannstrom pounced.
The score was knotted at 17:41 when Cundari received a pass from low in the zone and skimmed a shot past Makarov’s left leg to tie it 3-3. The Wolves almost claimed a regulation victory as they continued pressing late in the game, but could not convert.
Starting strong in the extra session, Jaskin and teammate Michael Davies set up in front of the net. When Pat Cannone’s shot bounced off Davies, Jaskin turned and flicked the rebound beyond Makarov’s reach at 1:06. The entire team chased down Jaskin along the boards to celebrate the triumph.
Allen finished the game with 26 saves. Makarov (0-1) stopped 35 of 39 shots through regulation and overtime.
Chicago remains in Rochester for Game 2 at 6 p.m. Saturday. The Wolves return to Allstate Arena for Game 3 of the series on Thursday at 7 p.m.
— Chicago Wolves