ROSEMONT, Ill. – San Antonio reeled off three goals in a 3-minute, 21-second stretch of the second period to spark a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Wolves on Sunday afternoon at Allstate Arena.
Defenseman Brent Sopel and forward Shane Harper scored for the Wolves (27-20-5-1), but they failed to convert any of their five power-play opportunities while the Rampage scored on three of their six power-play chances.
“We didn’t take advantage of our power plays and they did,” said Wolves head coach John Anderson. “Completely changed the game.”
The Wolves opened the scoring at 10:35 of the first on Sopel’s first goal of the season. After an extended possession in the offensive zone, which included Wolves forward Ty Rattie and San Antonio goaltender Michael Houser colliding in the crease, Sopel stepped up to the puck in the right circle and snapped a shot into the top left corner of the net.
San Antonio (30-18-5-0) knotted it 1-1 on left wing Connor Brickley’s power-play goal at 7:04 of the second. Jesse Blacker rifled a shot from the left circle that Wolves goaltender Jordan Binnington blocked, but the Rampage had extra players in front of the net. Brickley and Logan Shaw whacked the rebound virtually simultaneously with Shaw settling for the assist.
The Rampage added another power-play goal at 9:03 of the second as Bobby Butler found room to roam on the perimeter and lifted a wrister from the left circle that found the back of the net.
Butler added another goal at 10:25 of the second during 4-on-4 action as Brett Olson’s pass from the defensive zone led Butler on a breakaway that he finished with a nifty move.
San Antonio pushed its lead to 4-1 on former Wolves forward Mark Mancari’s power-play goal at 12:36 of the third. That’s when Anderson opted to remove Binnington in favor of backup Matt Climie, who returned from injury to play for the first time since Jan. 16.
“I thought (Binnington) played well,” Anderson said. “I pulled him to get Climie some work.”
The Wolves cut the margin to 4-2 with 3:30 to go as Anderson pulled Climie to set up a 6-on-5 situation. Adam Burish and Harper lined up in front of the crease and redirected Brent Regner’s shot from the left point. Chicago hoped to continue its empty-net magic, but the Rampage’s Shaw delivered an empty-net goal from center ice with 44 seconds left to clinch the game.
Binnington (18-11-3) stopped 21 of 25 shots while extending his franchise record by starting for the 15th consecutive game. Climie stopped the only shot he faced. Houser (8-8-2) posted 21 saves to earn the win.
The Wolves wrap up their seven-game homestand next weekend when they host Grand Rapids at 7 p.m. Saturday and Milwaukee at 3 p.m. Sunday for an Amtrak Rivalry clash. To get the best ticket specials, visit ChicagoWolves.com or call 1-800-THE-WOLVES.
Courtesy Chicago Wolves