MILWAUKEE — The Chicago Wolves offense could not be stopped Friday night as they doubled up the Milwaukee Admirals 8-4 in an Amtrak Rivalry matchup at the Bradley Center.
Left wing Magnus Paajarvi netted the hat trick while forwards Adam Cracknell (2G), Jeremy Welsh (2G), and Jacob Doty rounded out the scoring. Left wing Nathan Longpre chipped in two assists as Chicago scored more than seven goals in a game for the first time since Jan. 5, 2011.
The Wolves (32-25-6-1) opened scoring 3:09 in as they converted a short-handed chance to take the early lead. Longpre broke the puck out of the zone and evaded three Admirals, sending a pass to open ice for Welsh. Welsh moved in all alone and beat goaltender Marek Mazanec with a backhand to the top corner.
Less than four minutes later, the Admirals (32-25-5-5) responded to tie the score 1-1. Following a shot on net, Wolves defenders were unable to clear the puck out of the crease. A rebound squirted free to right wing Pontus Åberg, who buried it inside the near post.
Chicago reclaimed the advantage on another goal by its special teams unit, this time striking on the power play. Center Pat Cannone, playing in his first game since Feb. 21, got the puck to right wing Shane Harper. The sniper sent a blind backhand pass to Paajarvi on the far side to finish.
The Wolves pushed their lead to two 27 seconds into the middle frame on Cracknell’s strike. Defenseman Colton Parayko launched a wrist shot on net that Mazanec bobbled, giving Cracknell the chance to crash the crease and make it 3-1.
The momentum shifted to Milwaukee as the period went on, however, as the Admirals tallied twice in two minutes to once again even the score. Forwards Eric Robinson and Gary Steffes (PPG) each notched their first American Hockey League tallies of the season at 4:33 and 6:30, respectively.
Chicago roared back with a pair of their own before the second period came to an end. Doty notched his first AHL tally on a top-shelf redirect at 9:01 before Cracknell made it 5-3 with his second of the night at 10:28. That signaled the end of the game for Mazanec (17-16-6), who stopped 17 of 22 before being replaced by Magnus Hellberg.
Milwaukee’s Michael Liambas cut the Wolves’ lead to one at 7:19 of the third period before Chicago sealed the game with three more. Paajarvi completed his hat trick with an unassisted goal at 10:44 and an empty-net marker at 18:03 while Welsh netted his second of the night with a short-handed empty-net tally at 17:35.
Binnington (21-13-4) finished the night with 26 saves. Hellberg stopped 12 of 13 in relief.
The Wolves return to Allstate Arena tomorrow for a rematch with Milwaukee in a 7 p.m. Amtrak Rivalry game before hosting Iowa at 3 p.m. Sunday.
— Chicago Wolves