CEDAR PARK, Texas — The Chicago Wolves could not overcome an early deficit and multi-point games from All-Stars Maxime Fortunus and Travis Morin as they fell to the Texas Stars 3-2 on Friday night at the Cedar Park Center.
Defenseman Petteri Lindbohm and right wing Shane Harper tallied for the Wolves (21-16-4-1), who saw their three-game point streak snapped. Making his third consecutive start, goaltender Jordan Binnington posted another solid effort but suffered the loss.
After a fast-paced but scoreless first period, the Stars (17-15-9-0) took the lead early in the middle frame. As the Wolves got caught in the offensive zone, forwards Morin and Brendan Ranford broke out on a 2-on-1 rush the other way. Morin carried the puck into Chicago’s zone before feeding Ranford, who moved in alone on Binnington and beat the sprawled goaltender with a backhander at 1:20.
While Chicago responded with good pressure and possession, Texas increased their lead to two goals at 16:22. Fortunus released a blast from the top of the right faceoff circle that evaded a screened Binnington to double the home team’s lead.
The Wolves answered back before the end of the frame to cut their deficit to one goal going into the second intermission. With Chicago on a power play, center Pat Cannone threaded a pass along the blue line to Lindbohm, who utilized the open ice to move in and release a rifle that beat Stars goaltender Jussi Rynnas, cutting the score to 2-1 at 18:51.
Texas countered with a man-advantage marker of its own to regain the multi-goal lead in the third period. Fortunus notched his second of the night as he accepted the puck in the middle of the zone and dinged a shot off the post and in for the eventual game-winner.
Harper made it 3-2 with 16.3 seconds remaining, chasing down a puck in the crease and scoring on a difficult angle, but the Wolves were unable to find the equalizer.
Binnington (12-7-2) made 26 saves while Rynnas (11-3-5) kicked out 26 of 29 shots to earn the win.
The Wolves face off against Texas in a rematch at 7 p.m. Saturday. They return to Allstate Arena on Saturday, Jan. 31, to face the Rockford IceHogs and wear their Fight Against Cancer specialty jerseys for the final time.