It had already been a frustrating night for the Chicago Wolves (10-10-0-2) heading into the third period of Saturday night’s game against the Oklahoma City Barons (10-12-0-3). By the end of the game, the frustration was even worse.
Trailing 1-0 after two periods, the Wolves had dominated the shot count 25-13 and had five power play opportunities. The chances were there, but despite sustained pressure, nobody could find the back of the net.
“We’ve got to find players that can see the ice,” said Wolves head coach John Anderson. “If you can’t make a play on the power play, then why are you on there?”
“It’s tough,” added Wolves center Pat Cannone. “You know, you get your chances and it’s just not going for you.”
However, Sergey Andronov put Chicago on the board, tying the game at 1-1 after a beautiful deflection in front of the net. Barons’ goaltender Ty Rimmer lost sight of the puck, and it went five-hole on him.
Just 3:32 later, Cannone put home a rebound shot from the left faceoff dot to give Chicago a 2-1 lead.
Chicago goaltender Jake Allen, who had played a spectacular game until, could not hold the lead. Thanks to some sprawling stops by Rimmer (39 saves), the Wolves failed to get an insurance goal on a minute-long rush of continuous play in the offensive zone. Oklahoma City would take advantage and suck the life right out of Allstate Arena.
With just over five minutes to play in the game, Oklahoma City’s Andrew Miller made a beautiful defensive play, controlled the puck at center ice, and scored on a breakaway to tie the game at 2-2. Just 57 seconds later, Roman Horak would give the Barons the lead on a beautiful cross pass from Brad Hunt, who had scored the game’s first goal.
Two empty net goals from Horak and Matthew Ford added insult to injury, and the Barons found a way to win 5-2. Oklahoma City had scored four goals in the final six minutes after the Wolves had battled back to take the lead.
“I like the way we came out in the third period,” said Cannone. “We’ve just got to learn how to close games out.”
Despite 41 shots in the game, the Wolves found themselves yet again on the wrong end of a home game. Chicago is now 3-7 at home on the season.
“It’s a shame we took the lead that late anyways,” said Anderson. “We shot ourselves in the foot not bearing down around the net.”
The Wolves’ offense will take on the same Oklahoma City team tomorrow afternoon at home, but would like to light the lamp a little more.
“Maybe we have to find some different players that will score,” said Anderson. “We’re going to have to make some decisions here.”