ROSEMONT, Ill. – The Chicago Wolves topped the defending Calder Cup champion Cleveland Monsters 4-2 on Sunday at Allstate Arena for their second home win in as many days.
Defenseman Brad Hunt tallied a goal and an assist while captain Chris Butler and Bryce Gervais netted their first goals of the season for Chicago (4-4-0-0). Jordan Binnington (2-2-0) posted 22 saves to pick up the win.
“They were a rested team and they came out hard in the first period, which was expected,” said Wolves head coach Craig Berube. “But we didn’t break. We battled and battled. I really liked our third period a lot. I thought we shut them down totally in the third and really did a good job checking and managing the puck.”
The Wolves opened scoring for just the second time this season with a tic-tac-toe play from Samuel Blais to Wade Megan to Magnus Paajarvi at 4:31 of the first. The goal was Paajarvi’s second in three games.
Then, just past the midway point of the period, Jordan Caron served the puck to Hunt cycling into the left corner. Hunt faked to the front of the net, and then skated around the back and tucked the puck behind Cleveland goaltender Anton Forsberg to double the Wolves’ lead.
With just over two minutes to play in the frame, the Monsters (3-5-0-0) sliced Chicago’s lead in half. Markus Hannikanen dished the puck to T.J. Tynan flying up the right wing and he lasered it past Binnington to make it 2-1.
Just 1:19 into the second period, the Monsters knotted the score at 2 when the puck caromed off the Cleveland end boards and sprung Hannikanen and Oliver Bjorkstrand loose for a 2-on-1 chance that Hannikainen finished.
The Wolves regained the lead at 7:18 of the second when Gervais gathered the puck behind the Cleveland net, skated behind the goal and whipped the puck into the top, short-side corner for the 3-2 lead. Forward Jacob Doty and defenseman Gus Young assisted on the goal as all three skaters registered their first points of the season on the play.
The clubs traded chances throughout the third period and, on a right-point feed from Alex Friesen, Wolves captain Butler wired a shot from the left point that found the back of the net at 15:25 of the third for the 4-2 final.
Cleveland goaltender Forsberg (3-3-0) stopped 22 of 26 shots in the loss.
The Wolves finished the weekend with a 2-1-0-0 record against Central Division opponents, including a split in the first of three home-and-home series with in-state rival Rockford.
The Wolves begin their annual circus road trip on Friday, Nov. 4, with a stop in Milwaukee for a 7 p.m. Amtrak Rivalry game at UWM Panther Arena. For a complete Wolves 2016-17 season schedule or broadcast information, visit ChicagoWolves.com.