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Toronto’s Early Strikes Send Wolves To 4-2 Defeat

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Chicago Wolves (Photos by Ross Dettman/Chicago Wolves)

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ROSEMONT, Ill.—Toronto jumped out to a three-goal lead for the second night in a row and held on for a 4-2 victory over the Chicago Wolves in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals on Saturday night at Allstate Arena.

Toronto forwards Peter Holland, Trevor Smith and Josh Leivo scored in the opening 15 minutes to give the Marlies a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. Right wing Shane Harper and left wing Dmitrij Jaskin scored for the Wolves. The series resumes at 6 p.m. Wednesday in Toronto.

“They deserved to win,” said Wolves head coach John Anderson. “We just can’t make four or five horrendous errors early in the game to get down like that. Two of them, Jake (Allen) didn’t even have a chance on. Other than that, I thought we came along and regrouped and played a decent game after that.”

Toronto opened the scoring just 64 seconds into Game 2. The Wolves tried to control the puck behind their net, but Toronto’s Carter Ashton delivered a check along the end boards that dislodged the puck. Holland claimed possession just to goaltender Jake Allen’s right and went to the backhand for his second goal in as many nights.

The Marlies made it 2-0 at 7:38 on Smith’s second goal of the series. He found open space on Allen’s doorstep, planted his stick on the ice and accepted a diagonal pass from Brandon Kozun for an unchallenged redirect.

Toronto’s lead swelled to 3-0 at 14:46 on Leivo’s score. The play began with Allen sweeping aside Kenny Ryan’s breakaway backhander, but Ryan reclaimed the puck and fed an open Leivo for a short flip over the sprawled Allen.

The Wolves got on the board at 1:46 of the third as Harper accepted a pass from Taylor Chorney at the Wolves blue line, raced down the right wing, and roofed a wrister over Toronto goaltender Drew MacIntyre’s glove.

Chicago pulled within 3-2 at 17:21 as Anderson pulled Allen during a power play to give the Wolves a 6-on-4 advantage. Keith Aucoin threaded a pass from the top of the left circle to the slot, where Jaskin redirected it off the post and into the net.

The Wolves continued to attack and hit the post with a potential game-tying attempt, but Toronto clinched the game with 57 seconds left on Jerry D’Amigo’s empty-net goal.

Allen (3-4) stopped 18 of 21 shots while MacIntyre (4-0) posted 22 saves.

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