DES MOINES, Iowa – Samuel Blais and Morgan Ellis each collected two points, but the Chicago Wolves suffered a 3-2 overtime loss to the Iowa Wild Friday night at Wells Fargo Arena.
The point earned in the overtime loss – coupled with the Grand Rapids Griffins’ overtime victory against the Charlotte Checkers – allows the Wolves (43-19-8-5) to clinch the Central Division title with a win Saturday night against Charlotte at Allstate Arena.
The Wolves, who hold a one-point lead over the Griffins, need to match what Grand Rapids does in its game at Milwaukee in order to win the Central Division crown. Meanwhile, the Checkers will be playing for the fourth and final Central Division spot in the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs. Charlotte needs one point from Saturday’s game to clinch that spot.
Chicago opened scoring when Mackenzie MacEachern flung the puck up the right offensive wing to Blais at the same-side point. Blais feathered a shot through a crowd in front of the Wild net. Alex Stalock (23-17-8) made the initial save, but Blais slapped in the rebound chance with just 35 seconds left in the first frame.
However, 48 seconds into the second session, former Wolves captain Pat Cannone skirted around the Chicago defender in a 1-on-1 situation in the left offensive corner. He fed a pass to Gerald Mayhew skating into the slot for a wrist shot that found twine to knot the game 1-1.
At 4:12 of the period, Ellis blasted a chance from the center point while Jordan Caron screened Stalock for the 2-1 go-ahead goal.
The Wild (35-31-7-2) again erased a one-goal deficit as Justin Kloos netted his first professional goal at 16:46 of the second. Right wing Sam Anas faked a shot and slid the puck through a crowd in the slot to Kloos for the goal.
The third period featured end-to-end action and quality scoring chances for both teams, but neither team could net a game-winning goal.
In the extra frame, Alex Tuch took advantage of a turnover in the Wolves’ defensive end just 13 seconds in for the 3-2 Wild win.
Ville Husso (13-6-2) made 31 saves in the loss while Stalock turned aside 23 shots in the victory.
Chicago concludes its regular season Saturday (April 15) on home ice at Allstate Arena. The 7 p.m. contest will be broadcast on CW50 as the Wolves host their annual First Responders Night, presented by Turtle Wax. Beginning at 5:30 p.m., fans can participate in the Touch-A-Truck event and the first 3,500 fans into the building receive a drawstring backpack courtesy of Turtle Wax.
The game also serves as the Wolves’ final Adopt-A-Dog Night of the 2016-17 season. More than 1,300 dogs have found forever homes over the last 15 seasons. For more information about tickets or the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs, visit ChicagoWolves.com.