CLEVELAND – Markus Hannikainen and Zac Dalpe tallied for the Cleveland Monsters during the shootout for a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Wolves on Wednesday night at Quicken Loans Arena.
The Wolves (37-18-7-4) earned a point to pull even at 85 points with the Grand Rapids Griffins. However, they remain in second place in the Central Division with a .644 winning percentage to Grand Rapids’ .675.
Tonight’s loss marked the Wolves’ third consecutive setback against the Monsters (30-27-3-4) and pushed their winless streak to four games (0-1-2-1) overall.
In a tilt that belonged to the goaltenders, Cleveland’s Brad Thiessen (3-6-1) stopped 45 to 46 Chicago shots – and both Chicago skaters in the shootout – for his third win of the season. The contest was Thiessen’s first start in eight games.
Chicago netminder Jordan Binnington (14-6-7) made 32 saves in the loss.
Back in the Wolves lineup for the first time since March 11, veteran left wing Brett Sterling opened the game’s scoring at 9:50 of the first frame with a shot from the slot. Nineteen-year-old rookie Tage Thompson picked up the primary assist on the play for his first professional point.
Just 20 seconds into the second session, the Monsters’ Dalpe managed to peel the puck away from a Chicago defender off the right-side offensive boards and wire a shot past Binnington to tie the game at one.
During the third period, Cleveland and Chicago traded chances. Binnington only needed to make seven saves while Theissen posted a game-high 19 saves.
Chicago continued to pour on the pressure in the 3-on-3 overtime session, but Theissen stood up to the task and stopped all five shots.
In the shootout, the Monsters elected to shoot first and Hannikainen roofed a backhand chance on the first attempt of the event. Immediately after, Kenny Agostino sailed a shot off Thiessen’s blocker into the netting.
During Round 2, Dalpe bested Binnington with a low wrist shot, and Thiessen stopped former Monsters all-star Andrew Agozzino for the 2-1 victory.
The Wolves continue their road trip in Charlotte with back-to-back games against the Checkers at Bojangles’ Coliseum. The first game at 6 p.m. on Saturday (March 25), and the second contest is set for noon on Sunday, March 26. Both games will be broadcast on CW50 in the Chicago area. For more information about upcoming Wolves home games or the 2017 Calder Cup Playoff race, visit ChicagoWolves.com.