Adam Cracknell’s hard collision with the linesman was the picturesque indication of the type of night it was for the Chicago Wolves.
Chicago (35-19-4-2) has been playing some of its best hockey as of late, winners of six of their last seven games coming into Saturday night’s contest at Allstate Arena against the Texas Stars. This was not one of those games. Texas (37-17-3-5) snapped the Wolves franchise-record 17-game home point streak (15-0-2-0) in a 3-0 victory. The last Wolves regulation loss at home had been Dec. 7. It was just the second shutout the Wolves have suffered this season and the first since Oct. 27.
“It’s a step back, but sometimes you have to take a step back and two steps forward,” said Wolves head coach John Anderson.
After the Wolves got off to a sluggish start, and Texas took advantage early on. Taylor Peters opened up the scoring just one minute, 34 seconds into the game. A weak shot from beyond the left face-off circle bounced by Jake Allen to give the Stars the first tally.
“They score that fluke goal there to start it off and it kind of sets you back a bit,” said Anderson.
“That’s not (Allen’s) fault at all,” said Wolves center Alexandre Bolduc. “That’s just part of hockey, bounces happen.”
A one-time rifle from Taylor Vause after a soft clearing attempt by the Wolves gave Texas a two-goal cushion midway through the period.
An uneventful second period saw no score and the Stars held a 2-0 lead heading to the final frame.
In the third period, Stars goaltender Jack Campbell was the big reason why Texas maintained its two-goal cushion. Perhaps the key moment was when he sprawled across his body to make the save on a Ty Rattie wraparound shot during a Wolves power play midway through the period. Campbell pitched his second shutout of the season and picked up his third win against Chicago this year, stopping all 24 shots he faced.
“He’s got our number,” said Anderson. “It is what it is.”
Brendan Ranford added a shorthanded empty net goal to finish it off.
“In a game like that, there’s no excuse to come out flat, no matter how they score their goals,” said Wolves defenseman Taylor Chorney.
The Stars and Wolves will meet again Sunday afternoon in the second half of a back-to-back.