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Wolves Edged by Griffins in Overtime

December 7, 2016

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Kenny Agostino became the third AHL player this season to record four assists and Wade Megan collected two goals, but the Chicago Wolves suffered a 6-5 overtime loss to the Grand Rapids Griffins on Wednesday night at Van Andel Arena.

The Wolves (11-9-2-1), who received one goal and two assists from AHL scoring leader Brad Hunt, rallied twice from two-goal deficits but could not complete the comeback. Grand Rapids (13-6-1-2) center Matt Lorito’s 10th goal of the season was the game-winner at 1:56 of the extra session.

Grand Rapids center Kyle Criscuolo opened scoring past the midway point of the first frame from the right wing with a laser shot that found its way past Wolves goaltender Jordan Binnington (7-5-2).

Early in the second stanza, the Wolves had a few strong shifts on the penalty kill as Andrew Agozzino and Alex Friesen teamed up for some quality short-handed chances and to keep Grand Rapids in their own zone. However in the dying seconds of the special-teams situation, the Griffins doubled their lead as Tomas Nosek redirected a shot in the slot at 3:44 of the period.

The Wolves chopped the Griffins’ lead in half, 2-1, just under three minutes later on their own power-play opportunity. From the center point, Hunt fed Agostino skating to the top of the right circle for a chance. Standing in the slot, Megan clipped the Agostino shot on its way to the net for his first marker of the contest.

After battling along the left offensive boards, Conner Bleackley lobbed the puck into open ice, and Bryce Gervais zipped around the Grand Rapids defense for a breakaway chance. He managed to control the rolling puck enough to send it up and over Griffins goaltender Cal Heeter (2-0-0) to knot the game, 2-2 , at 14:29 of the middle session.

Just 1:01 later, again Agostino fed Megan as he skated into the offensive zone, and Megan wristed a quick shot between Heeter’s skates to give Chicago its first lead of the game.

Grand Rapids was quick to answer – it took 35 seconds – as defenseman Joe Hicketts tied the game, 3-3, and then at 17:52 Nosek netted the go-ahead marker to give Grand Rapids a 4-3 lead.

Just three seconds into the Griffins’ early third-period power play, Hicketts stepped into a shot at the top of the slot and rifled it past Binnington. The goal came 31 seconds into the stanza to give the Griffins a 5-3 lead.

Chicago climbed back within a goal at 7:15 when Agostino and Landon Ferraro – extending his point streak to seven games – set up Hunt at the left point for a shot through traffic that found the back of the net.

During a Wolves power play, Agozzino tucked a shot up under the crossbar from near the top of the left circle to again tie the game. He accepted a cross-slot feed from Agostino and pivoted for the through-traffic chance at 15:05 of the third period.

In overtime on the rush, Lorito gained a step on the Wolves defense and snapped a shot over Binnington’s shoulder for the 6-5 final score.

Heeter turned aside 36 shots for the victory. Binnington made 29 saves in the loss.

On Saturday (Dec. 10) the Wolves head to Milwaukee to face the Admirals for the fourth time this season. Chicago is on the hunt for its first victory of the year in the Amtrak Rivalry series. Puck drop is slated for 6 p.m. and the game will broadcast live on CW50.

The Wolves return home to Allstate Arena the next afternoon (Dec. 11) for a 4 p.m. showdown with Grand Rapids. To purchase tickets or for complete 2016-17 game and broadcast schedules, visit ChicagoWolves.com.