ROSEMONT, Ill. — Forward Adam Cracknell racked up two goals in the opening 16 minutes and goaltender Jake Allen rejected 18 shots as the Chicago Wolves earned a 4-0 victory over Rochester on Thursday night at Allstate Arena in Game 3 of the Western Conference quarterfinals.
Cracknell, who returned to the Wolves on Wednesday after playing in the Stanley Cup playoffs, notched a shorthanded goal and a power-play tally in the first period. Keith Aucoin and Ty Rattie added power-play goals as Chicago grabbed a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series and the chance to close it out at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Allstate Arena.
“When our special teams are doing good things like that, we should be able to win hockey games,” said Wolves head coach John Anderson. “(Allen) answered the bell every time he had to.”
The Wolves grabbed a 1-0 lead at 14:08 of the first period on Cracknell’s shorthanded goal. Rochester couldn’t control the puck in Chicago’s zone and Aucoin picked it up at the blue line to launch a 2-on-1. Aucoin paused at the top of the right circle, waited for Cracknell to fill the left wing and fed him for a one-timer that beat shifting Rochester goaltender Andrey Makarov.
Cracknell added a power-play goal at 15:56 of the first as he set right in front of Makarov and re-directed Brent Regner’s blast from the point.
Aucoin pushed the Wolves’ lead to 3-0 at 2:16 of the third with a power-play tally. Regner launched a shot from the point and Makarov allowed a rebound that bounced just outside the crease. Dmitrij Jaskin swooped in and dished to Aucoin in the left circle for a flip into the open net.
Chicago made it 4-0 on Rattie’s power-play goal at 7:36 of the third. Defenseman Joe Corvo fired a wrister from the point that Jaskin tipped in the slot and Rattie redirected into the net from just beyond of the crease. The officials waved it off initially, but confirmed the goal after a video review.
Allen (2-1), who led the AHL during the regular season with seven shutouts, earned his first professional postseason shutout. Makarov (1-2) stopped 26 of 30 shots for the Americans.