After trailing by as many as 12 points in the division race earlier this season, the Chicago Wolves (29-16-4-2) defeated the Milwaukee Admirals (23-16-6-5) by a score of 3-2 Sunday afternoon at Allstate Arena to pull within one point of division-leading Grand Rapids.
Jani Hakanpaa scored what would prove to be the game-winning goal early in the third period, and Evan Oberg tallied two assists to help extend an eight-game point streak for Chicago. With the win, the Wolves also moved their home point streak to 13 games.
After Vinny Saponari made a strong move around defenseman Evan Oberg and finished top shelf to give Milwaukee a 1-0 lead, Michael Davies ended an 0-for-31 power play drought against the Admirals. Davies spun to the front of the net and stuffed home his own rebound attempt to knot the game up at 1-1. It was Davies’ fourth goal of the season.
Early in the third period, Admirals goaltender Marek Mazarek played a dump-in behind the net and turned it over to Cody Beach alone in front of the net. Beach rifled the shot home and give Chicago its first lead of the game.
“I’ll take them any way I can,” said Beach. “Second one of the year, hopefully they come more often”
Just 28 seconds later, Hakanpaa blasted a one-time shot from the right faceoff circle past Mazarek to put Chicago up 3-1. Oberg assisted on the goal for his second of the game.
“It’s huge to get a two-goal lead in the last period,” said Hakanpaa. “We got it under control there and battled to the end.”
The Admirals would strike back 28 seconds after to make it 3-2, but Jake Allen staved off a last-minute burst with Milwaukee’s net empty and preserved the win. All eight games this season between the two teams have been decided by one goal.
“A good team comes out on top of those one-goal games,” said Beach.
Grand Rapids was idle, and the Wolves know they are one step away from taking over the division lead.
“That’s why you have to play the whole season,” said Anderson. “Whoever gets hot right at the very end will probably end up in first place.”
“The closer it gets, the more we want it,” added Beach.
Following the conclusion of its three-in-three series of games, Chicago will have four days off before making a short trip to Rockford to take on the IceHogs. As a bonus, the win extended the Wolves overall point streak to eight games and its home point streak to 13 games.