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Rookies Lead Wolves Back into Win Column

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Rookie netminder Ville Husso posted 29 saves while first-year forward Samuel Blais’ early second-period goal served as the game-winner to power the Chicago Wolves to a 3-1 victory over the Charlotte Checkers Sunday afternoon at Bojangles’ Coliseum.

Wade Megan scored his league-leading 29th goal and Andrew Agozzino added his team-high ninth power-play goal as Chicago (38-18-7-5) snapped Charlotte’s seven-game winning streak.

The win gave the Wolves at least one point in 16 of their last 17 games, ended their five-game winless streak and dropped their magic number for the playoffs to four pending the result of Sunday’s Iowa-Cleveland contest.

Returning to the Wolves lineup for the first time since March 21, Ty Rattie led the rush on the power play up the right wing toward the net. He hesitated and faked a wraparound chance for a cross-crease pass to Agozzino standing on Tom McCollum’s doorstep to give the Wolves the 1-0 lead at 12:17 of the first period.

Chicago continued to pressure in the second period and, at 5:51, Blais sped up the right wing and snapped a shot past McCollum (7-1-0) on the short side to push the Wolves’ lead to two goals.

Early in the third session, Kenny Agostino dropped a pass to Megan inside the left circle. Megan protected and carried the puck laterally into the slot and slung a shot over McCollum’s glove for the Chicago’s third goal of the contest.

Charlotte (33-28-4-0) managed its only counter at 7:42 of the third when Philip Samuelsson slid a pass from the right point to Haydn Fleury at the left point. Fleury’s slap shot found its way through a net-front screen and behind Husso (9-6-1) for a power-play goal that made it a 3-1 score.

McCollum posted 28 saves in his first loss with the Checkers organization.

The Wolves finish their five-game road trip on Friday (March 31) against the Iowa Wild at Wells Fargo Arena. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on The U Too in the Chicago area.

On Saturday (April 1), the Wolves return home to Allstate Arena for the season-series finale against the Cleveland Monsters. Game time is 7 p.m., and the contest will air on CW50. The first 5,000 fans receive a set of Wolves trading cards, courtesy of Vienna Beef. For more information about upcoming Wolves home games or the 2017 Calder Cup Playoff race, visit ChicagoWolves.com.