ROSEMONT, Ill.—Captain Derek MacKenzie collected his third career hat trick to lead the Chicago Wolves to their 500th regular-season win, 7-3, against the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights at the Allstate Arena on Wednesday.
Forwards Ramzi Abid (G, 2A), Pat Dwyer (2A), Kip Miller (G, A) and Jared Ross (2G) and defenseman Braydon Coburn (2A) also added multiple-point nights as the Wolves (15-16-2-6) won for the first time in four tries. Chicago's offense was paced by five power-play goals - one shy of matching a season-high.
Wolves netminder Michael Garnett (1-3-4) picked up his first win as a member of the Wolves this season, turning aside 28 of 31 shots.
With three seconds left in the middle stanza, MacKenzie's second goal of the night ran the Chicago lead to 4-1 and held up to be the game-winner. The Wolves center intercepted a break-out pass in the high slot, cut to the middle of the zone and ripped a snap shot, top-shelf, and over Knights goaltender Curtis McElhinney's shoulder.
"More than everything, we got a big win tonight," said MacKenzie. "I love being able to chip in every now and then, but its just great to be part of a team victory. The bottom line is the two points we got tonight."
Miller and the Wolves made use of a five-on-three power-play to open the scoring, 1-0, 7:52 into the contest. Miller broke behind two defenders and one-timed a crisp feed from Dwyer past McElhinney's outstretched pad and into the back of the net.
McElhinney recorded 26 saves on 33 shots.
Late in the opening period, Chicago struck again on the power-play when Ross converted on his sixth goal of the season. Abid slipped a pass through a crowd in the crease to Ross, who circled the net and tucked the puck in between McElhinney and the right post at 19:35 of the opening period.
Thirty-three seconds into the second period, Omaha cut the Chicago lead in half, 2-1, when left wing Eric Nystrom beat Garnett, stick-side, with a wrist shot from the top of the right circle.
Chicago's third man-advantage marker of the tilt, and MacKenzie's first, pushed the lead to 3-1, 10:37 into the second period. After Dwyer sent a shot on goal that McElhinney knocked down with his blocker, MacKenzie rushed for the rebound and quickly punched home his second goal of the season.
Ross lit the lamp a second time, 2:27 into the third period, to give the Wolves a 5-1 advantage. Ross deflected a shot from Coburn that landed in McElhinney's pads, then tapped home his own rebound.
Knights left wing Brandon Prust cut the Wolves lead back to three, 5-2, with his sixth goal of the year. With Omaha (16-19-1-7) threatening on the power play, defenseman Tim Hambly drilled a shot from the left point that found its way through a crowd before being deflected by Prust and past Garnett at 7:28 of the final frame. Just under two minutes later, Nystrom's second goal of the night made it a 5-3 game at 9:22.
MacKenzie completed the hat trick at 11:04 of the third period when he intercepted a clearing attempt at the blue line and rifled Chicago's fourth power-play goal of the night into the back of the net. Then, Abid's team-leading 19th goal of the season - and the team's fifth man-advantage marker of the evening - capped the scoring at 17:05 of the third period.
After a day off, the Wolves start a three-in-three when they travel to Iowa to battle the Stars at Wells Fargo Arena on Friday at 7 p.m.
Omaha 0 1 2 – 3
Chicago 2 2 3 – 7
First Period—1, Chicago, Miller 7 (Dwyer, Abid), 7:52 pp; 2, Chicago, Ross 6 (Abid, Coburn), 19:35 pp. Penalties—Neiszner, Omaha (high-sticking), 2:48; Abid, Chicago (hooking), 4:32; Taylor, Omaha (hooking), 6:40; Komarniski, Omaha (slashing), 7:05; Germyn, Omaha (holding), 13:23; Maloney, Chicago (hooking), 15:50; Coburn, Chicago (interference), 17:11; Giordano, Chicago (holding the stick), 19:09; Taylor, Omaha (roughing), 20:00; Stewart, Chicago (diving), 20:00.
Second Period—3, Omaha, Nystrom 6 (Hambly, Giordano), 0:33; 4, Chicago, MacKenzie 2 (Baby, Dwyer), 10:37 pp; 5, Chicago, MacKenzie 3 (unassisted), 19:57. Penalties—Stewart, Chicago (tripping), 2:26; Prust, Omaha (elbowing, fighting), 4:54; Popovic, Chicago (fighting), 4:54; Peters, Omaha (instigating, fighting, misconduct), 8:56; Stewart, Chicago (fighting), 8:56; Giordano, Omaha (tripping), 11:32; Maloney, Chicago (hooking), 14:50.
Third Period—6, Chicago, Ross 7 (Coburn), 2:27; 7, Omaha, Prust 6 (Hambly, Moss), 7:28 pp; 8, Chicago, MacKenzie 4 (unassisted), 11:04 pp; 10, Chicago, Abid 19 (Miller), 17:05 pp. Penalties—Baby, Chicago (hooking), 3:33; Sipotz, Chicago (holding), 7:19; Germyn, Omaha (cross-checking), 10:18; Severson, Omaha (interference), 12:22; Miller, Chicago (hooking), 14:35; Bancroft, Omaha (hooking), 16:39; Taylor, Omaha (fighting), 17:53; Baby, Chicago (fighting), 17:53.
Shots on goal—Omaha: 7-13-11-31. Chicago: 14-11-8-33.
Power plays—Omaha: 1-8. Chicago: 5-11.
Goalies–Omaha, McElhinney (26-33). Chicago, Garnett (28-31).
Referee—Justin St. Pierre.
Linesmen—Bryan Pancich and Nick Sosnowski