ROSEMONT, Ill. – Defenseman Jordan Schmaltz’s slick backhand in the first round of the shootout lifted the Chicago Wolves to a 4-3 victory over the Texas Stars Thursday afternoon at Allstate Arena.
Forwards Jordan Caron, Eriah Hayes and Zach O’Brien scored in regulation for the Wolves (12-10-1-2), who snapped a three-game slide.
“I just thought we worked a little harder, gave that little extra today,” said Wolves head coach John Anderson. “We poked pucks away from them, steal pucks and re-attack really quickly. I thought we deserved to win.”
Buoyed by a boisterous School-Day Game crowd, the Wolves scored 3 goals in the opening 14 minutes to build a 3-0 lead.
Chicago opened the scoring 2:21 into the game as Ty Rattie slalomed through the Texas defense and flipped a shot from the slot that Stars goaltender John Muse blocked, but Caron attacked the net for the rebound and swatted it home.
Chicago pushed ahead 2-0 at 8:39 on Hayes’ power-play goal. Rattie held the puck along the left boards and fed a pass into the slot just as Hayes flashed there for a redirect past Muse.
The Wolves made it 3-0 on O’Brien’s goal at 13:53 as Chicago took advantage of a turnover at center ice that led to a three-man breakaway. Ivan Barbashev controlled the puck in the Texas zone and fed it ahead to Yannick Veilleux, who dished to O’Brien racing down the right side for the goal. The Stars then replaced Muse with backup Jack Campbell.
Texas (14-10-2-2) started its counterattack midway through the third. Right wing Brett Ritchie ripped a shot over Wolves goaltender Pheonix Copley’s glove for a power-play goal at 11:28, then center Greg Rallo notched a power-play goal at 13:32 to cut the Wolves’ lead to 3-2.
Schmaltz, a 22-year-old rookie, made his first professional shootout attempt a winner as he linked multiple fakes before lifting a backhand top-shelf.
Copley (6-6-1) stopped 37 of 40 shots during regulation and overtime as well as all three Texas shootout attempts to earn the win. Campbell (3-4-3) rejected all 28 shots during regulation and overtime, but managed just 1 of 2 saves in the shootout.
The Wolves host Epilepsy Awareness Night, presented by Heidenhain, at 7 p.m. Saturday as the Rockford IceHogs visit for an Illinois Lottery Cup game. The first 2,500 fans receive a T-shirt courtesy of Heidenhain. To get the best holiday specials, visit ChicagoWolves.com or call 1-800-THE-WOLVES.
WOLVES 4, STARS 3 (SO)
Texas 0 0 3 0 0 — 3
Chicago 3 0 0 0 1 — 4
First Period—1, Chicago, Caron 8 (Rattie, Cannone), 2:21; 2, Chicago, Hayes 3 (Rattie, Benoit), 8:39 pp; 3, Chicago, O’Brien 2 (Veilleux, Barbashev), 13:53. Penalties—Ranford, Texas (boarding), 0:09; Beach, Chicago (slashing) 2:21; Veilleux, Chicago (roughing) 5:59; Ritchie, Texas (unsportsmanlike conduct), 7:09; Beach, Chicago (hooking), 18:14.
Second Period—None. Penalties—Evans, Texas (tripping), 3:44; Honka, Texas (tripping), 8:20; Asuchak, Chicago (hooking), 16:29; Stransky, Texas (unsportsmanlike conduct – embellishment), 16:29.
Third Period—4, Texas, Ritchie 5 (Johns, Lindell), 11:28 pp; 5, Texas, Rallo 10 (Morin, Johns); 13:32 pp; 6, Texas, Backman 1 (Dowling), 17:34.
Penalties—Doty, Chicago (interference), 10:02; Veilleux, Chicago (roughing double-minor), 12:40; Johns, Texas (cross-checking), 14:35.
Shootout—Texas 0 (Ranford NG, Dowling NG, Stransky NG); Chicago 1 (Schmaltz G, Rattie NG). Shots on goal—Texas 11-12-13-4-0—40; Chicago 12-8-12-5-1—38. Power plays—Texas 2-5; Chicago 1-5. Goalies—Texas, Muse (6-9), replaced at 13:53 by Campbell (28-28); Chicago, Copley (37-40). Referees—Ryan Murphy and Chris Schlenker. Linesmen—Ryan Daisy and William Hancock.