The Chicago Wolves’ seven-game winning streak came to a halt as the Texas Stars posted a 6-2 victory Saturday night at Allstate Arena.
Defenseman Colton Parayko and right wing Sebastian Wannstrom scored for the Wolves (36-26-6-1), who remain in control of their postseason destiny. They share seventh place in the Western Conference with Milwaukee, but hold two games in hand on the Admirals.
Chicago would have pulled within 1 point of Texas (35-21-13-1) for sixth with a regulation win.
“Just timely goals for them tonight,” said Wolves head coach John Anderson. “It wasn’t a 6-2 game. We just didn’t finish on our chances and they finished on theirs. Their goalie stood on his head.”
Texas opened the scoring at 12:49 of the first period when a scramble in front of the net led to a Wolves player tapping the puck through goaltender Jordan Binnington’s legs while trying to help him freeze it. Defenseman Matt Mangene received credit for the goal.
The Wolves made it 1-1 with 1:07 left in the first on Parayko’s goal. Magnus Paajarvi launched a rush down the left side, exchanged quick passes with Pat Cannone in the left faceoff circle to draw goaltender Jack Campbell out of position, and fed Parayko roaring down the slot for an unchallenged one-timer.
The Stars regained the lead 31 seconds into the second as Greg Rallo intercepted a pass at center ice and zipped in for a shot that Binnington parried into the crease. After a battle that concluded with a Travis Morin shot, Derek Hulak whacked home the rebound.
Texas took advantage of the game’s first penalty to take a 3-1 lead at 10:31 of the second. Defenseman Julius Honka whistled a two-line pass to center Justin Dowling, who knifed between two Wolves into the right circle and lifted a backhand past Binnington’s blocker.
Dowling pushed Texas’ margin to 4-1 just 1:45 into the third as he carried the puck into the offensive zone, wiggled his way past a defender to get to the crease and flipped a backhand into the net.
Anderson pulled the goalie with five minutes to go to jump-start the offense, but Rallo lobbed home an empty-net goal from the red line at 16:55 to give Texas a 5-1 lead.
Wannstrom answered with a goal from the right circle at 17:16 to close within 5-2. The Stars replied with Brett Ritchie’s empty-net goal with 1:45 to play.
Binnington (22-14-4) finished with 23 saves on 27 shots as his three-game winning streak ended. Campbell (10-14-5) stopped 36 shots.
The Wolves host another game with Calder Cup playoff implications at 7 p.m. Tuesday when the Lake Erie Monsters come to town.
–– Chicago Wolves