CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Rookie center Adam Musil scored with 5:11 left to lift the Chicago Wolves to a 3-2 triumph over the Charlotte Checkers on Friday night in Game 2 of the Central Division Semifinals.
Musil, a 20-year-old who made his professional debut just seven days before, flipped a backhand past Charlotte goaltender Tom McCollum for his first goal as a pro. Not only did it snap a 2-2 tie at Bojangles’ Coliseum, it pulled the Wolves even in the best-of-five opening round of the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs.
“It’s nice to have the coaches’ trust to put me out there,” Musil said. “I think we put the pucks deep and played in their zone more and won our battles. That’s the type of team we are. We play a hard-nosed game and that’s what we did tonight.”
Forwards Alex Friesen and Samuel Blais scored the first two goals for the Wolves while rookie goaltender Ville Husso posted 37 saves to earn the win. The series moves to Allstate Arena the rest of the way as the Wolves host Game 3 at 2 p.m. Sunday.
“We were dialed in tonight and competing really hard,” said Wolves head coach Craig Berube.
The Wolves earned their first goal of the series at 4:15 of the first as Blais carried the puck into the offensive zone and fed it to Friesen, who poked the puck past McCollum from the faceoff dot.
Charlotte pulled even at 3:53 of the second as Andrew Miller rifled a shot from the right circle past Husso. The Checkers took advantage of a Wolves shift change, secured a 3-on-2 advantage in the offensive zone and Lucas Wallmark fed Miller for the open one-timer.
Blais restored a 2-1 lead for the Wolves just two minutes later as he motored the puck into the slot and snapped a shot over McCollum’s glove as he lunged in vain.
Charlotte defenseman Dennis Robertson made the score 2-2 with 1:34 left in the second as he watched a bouncing puck settle down just in time for him to slap a one-timer home from the top of the right circle.
The Checkers pulled McCollum in favor of an extra attacker with three minutes to go, but the hosts couldn’t secure the equalizer. Charlotte won a faceoff in the offensive zone with 2.4 seconds left, but Musil blocked Wallmark’s last-second blast with his face to clinch the win.
The Wolves host the rest of the series as play resumes with Game 3 at 2 p.m. on Sunday. Game 4 is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday and Game 5 (if necessary) slated for 7 p.m. Wednesday. For all ticket and Calder Cup information, visit ChicagoWolves.com or call 1-800-THE-WOLVES.