Chicago (17-15-0-2) cracked the scoreboard early with a power-play tally at 3:10 of the first period. Right wing Anthony Stewart sent a backhanded pass to center Matt Anderson. Anderson continued crossing the puck across the ice to Crabb, who redirected the pass past Peoria netminder Ben Bishop for the early 1-0 lead.
Right wing Tim Stapleton made it 2-0 when he received an across-ice pass from Crabb and then wristed a shot past Bishop, near-post, from the far circle at 13:10 of the first period.
With 3:07 remaining in the first period, center Kevin Doell put the Wolves up by three. Defenseman Chris Chelios sent Doell a pass along the blueline, and Doell flew the puck through Bishop’s five-hole with a hard slap shot.
Left wing Brett Sterling pushed the Wolves lead to 4-0 at 17:47 of the second period. Deep in the corner, a Peoria defenseman tried to wrap the puck around the boards, but it deflected off of center Jason Krog’s skate and out to Sterling. Sterling picked up the puck and snapped a shot past Bishop.
Bishop (12-6-1) posted 26 saves for Peoria.
Peoria (19-13-1-2) ruined Mannino’s shutout with just 38 seconds remaining in the game with a power-play tally. Right wing Adam Cracknell passed the puck into the crease and center Julian Talbot powered it home from the doorstep.
The Wolves open up 2010 against the Rivermen at the Allstate Arena on Sat., Jan. 2 at 7 p.m.
Chicago 3 1 0 -- 4
Peoria 0 0 1 -- 1
First Period---1, Chicago, Crabb 8 (Anderson, Stewart), 3:10 pp; 2, Chicago, Stapleton 16 (Crabb), 13:10; 3, Chicago, Doell 5 (Chelios, Kulda), 16:53. Penalties---Junland, Peoria (hooking), 1:26; Chelios, Chicago (hooking), 19:32.
Second Period---4, Chicago, Sterling 17 (Krog), 17:49. Penalties---Porter, Peoria (unsportsmanlike conduct), 3:11; Postma, Chicago (hooking), 3:48; Krog, Chicago (interference), 8:30; Tallackson, Peoria (holding), 9:56; Love, Peoria (hooking), 12:50.
Third Period---5, Peoria, Talbot 11 (Cracknell, Pelletier), 19:22 pp. Penalties---Krog, Chicago (hooking), 2:31; Stastny, Peoria (holding), 2:49; Oystrick, Chicago (hooking), 5:11; Welch, Chicago (roughing, fighting), 15:02; Love, Peoria (fighting), 15:02; Chelios, Chicago (slashing), 17:34.
Shots on goal---Chicago: 15-7-8--30. Peoria: 12-11-23--46. Power plays---Chicago: 1-5. Peoria: 1-7. Goalies--Chicago, Mannino (45-46). Peoria, Bishop (26-30). A---6,067. Referee---Kyle Rehman. Linesmen---Brian Oliver and Craig Kneale.