CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Chicago Wolves led most of the game, but Zach Boychuk’s goal with 6:31 left lifted the Charlotte Checkers to a 6-5 win Saturday night at Bojangles’ Coliseum.
Forwards Yannick Veilleux, Jordan Caron, Zack Torquato, Danny Kristo and Jeremy Welsh produced goals for the Wolves (19-18-1-2) while captain Pat Cannone and defenseman Jordan Schmaltz handed out 2 assists apiece.
The Checkers (25-12-1-2) posted 4 power-play goals, including a pair by left wing Brendan Woods, and defenseman Ryan Murphy recorded 4 assists to earn a split of the teams’ back-to-back games.
The Wolves needed just 32 seconds to take the lead as Eriah Hayes found Veilleux behind the defense down the right side and he whistled a shot between Charlotte goaltender Drew MacIntyre’s skates for a 1-0 lead.
Chicago added Caron’s power-play goal 1:40 into the game as Cannone, Kristo and Caron teamed up for a tic-tac-toe dissection of the Charlotte defense. Kristo accepted Cannoneâ �™s pass below the goal line and quickly tapped the puck to Caron in the slot for another goal through MacIntyre’s five-hole.
Woods cut the margin to 2-1 at 10:29 of the first as the Wolves turned over the puck in their zone and Woods snapped home a shot from the right faceoff dot.
The Checkers made it 2-2 with 31 seconds left in the first period as defenseman Trevor Carrick launched a blast from the left point that whizzed through traffic for a power-play goal.
The Wolves regained the lead on Torquato’s well-placed backhand from the slot at 4:46 of the second. Veilleux swooped in on the forecheck and took the puck away from a Charlotte defenseman in the right circle and directed a backhand pass toward Torquato to make it 3-2.
Charlotte didn’t wait long to even the score as left wing Brock McGinn delivered a power-play goal from the right circle at 7:36 of the second.
Kristo, who committed the penalty that led to McGinn’s goal, got it back with a power-play goal of his own at 11:44. Schmaltz set him up for the rising slap shot from the top of the left circle that gave the Wolves a 4-3 lead.
The Checkers made it 4-4 after 40 minutes as Boychuk tapped home a power-play goal with 2.3 seconds left in the second period. Boychuk waited at the back door for Carrick’s pass from the left boards.
Chicago claimed a 5-4 edge on Welsh’s goal 9:02 into the third period. Jonathan Schmaltz intercepted a Charlotte pass and fed the puck just outside the crease to Welsh, who redirected the puck past MacIntyre.
Woods delivered his second power-play goal of the night with 7:19 left to push the score to 5-5. Boychuk gave the Checkers their only lead when he lifted a wrister from the high slot with 6:21 to play.
Wolves goaltender Niklas Lundstrom (1-1-0), who earned Friday’s win in relief, stopped 30 of 36 shots in his first American Hockey League start. MacIntyre (11-1-1) rejected 20 of 25 shots to pick up the win.
The Wolves continue their five-game road trip on Tuesday at Iowa. Chicago returns to Allstate Arena on Saturday, Jan. 30, to face the Rockford IceHogs in an Illinois Lottery Cup clash. To find great group rates on tickets, visit ChicagoWolves.com or call 1-800-THE-WOLVES.
CHECKERS 6, WOLVES 5
Chicago 2 2 1 — 5
Charlotte 2 2 2 — 6
First Period—1, Chicago, Veilleux 8 (Hayes, Butler), 0:32; 2, Chicago, Caron 13 (Kristo, Cannone), 1:40 pp; 3, Charlotte, Woods 5 (Sutter), 10:29; 4, Charlotte, Carrick 8 (Murphy, Ryan), 19:29 pp. Penalties—Hensick, Charlotte (interference), 1:06; Cornell, Charlotte (fighting), 3:05; Vaughan, Chicago (fighting), 3:05; Torquato, Chicago (hooking), 15:01; Trupp, Chicago (hooking), 19:23.
Second Period—5, Chicago, Torquato 2 (Veilleux), 4:46; 6, Charlotte, McGinn 11 (Carrick, Murphy), 7:36 pp; 7, Chicago, Kristo 13 (Schmaltz, Cannone), 11:44 pp; 8, Charlotte, Boychuk 8 (Carrick, Murphy), 19:57 pp. Penalties—Caron, Chicago (high-sticking), 7:17; Kristo, Chicago (hooking), 8:48; Rissanen, Charlotte (tripping), 11:23; Harrold, Chicago (cross-checking), 12:53; Lowe, Charlotte (unsportsmanlike conduct), 15:41; Veilleux, Chicago (hooking), 19:36.
Third Period—9, Chicago, Welsh 11 (Schmaltz), 9:02; 10, Charlotte, Woods 6 (Hensick, Chelios), 12:41 pp; 11, Charlotte, Boychuk 9 (Carrick, Murphy), 13:29;
Penalties—Hagel, Charlotte (slashing), 4:28; Brace, Chicago (hooking), 12:23;
Shots on goal—Chicago 8-8-9—25; Charlotte 9-17-10—36. Power plays—Chicago 2-4; Charlotte 4-7. Goalies—Chicago, Lundstrom (30-36); Charlotte, MacIntyre (20-25). Referee—Jake Brenk. Linesmen—Paul Carnathan and Zachary Thornton.