CEDAR PARK, Texas – Chicago Wolves right wing Alex Tuch netted three goals, but it was not enough as the Texas Stars topped Chicago 6-5 Friday night at the H-E-B Center in the clubs’ opening game of the 2017-18 American Hockey League season.
Left wing Teemu Pulkkinen and defenseman Shea Theodore each recorded a goal and two assists as the Wolves (0-1-0-0) potted two power-play goals in the effort.
The Stars (1-0-0-0) struck first at 8:24 of the opening frame as Jason Dickinson shot the puck over sprawling Wolves goaltender Maxime Lagace.
However, 1:24 later on the power play, Pulkkinen fed a pass to Theodore at the center for a blast that Tuch deflected past Texas’ Mike McKenna while standing at the top of the crease to knot the game 1-1.
The Stars ended the period with a 3-1 lead lead as Brian Flynn netted the go-ahead marker at 11:31 and Roope Hintz added a goal with less than three minutes to play in the stanza.
Chicago pulled back within a goal under five minutes into the second period. Tuch netted his second of the game as he sliced through the slot and caught a pass from Pulkkinen, who slipped behind the Stars net and into the left corner.
Late in the period, Sheldon Dries jumped off the Stars bench and charged toward the Wolves net for a shot that got behind Lagace to extend Texas’ lead back to two goals.
Early in the third period – with Texas’ Matt Mangene in the penalty box for roughing – Theodore came on the rush and fed Pulkkinen, who used the Texas defenders as a screen and slipped a shot past McKenna to get the Wolves within 4-3.
Beginning at 8:31, the Stars netted a pair of goals 1:11 apart to extend their lead to 6-3.
Under three minutes later, Tuch completed his hat trick as he floated alone in the slot and jammed home a rebound to cut Texas’ lead back to two goals.
The Wolves chopped the margin to 6-5 with 5:48 left when they controlled the puck after an offensive-zone faceoff and pushed it back to the blue line, where defenseman Jake Bischoff slid the puck along to Theodore. He hammered home a shot on the power play for Chicago’s fifth goal.
Facing his former team, Lagace made 22 saves in the loss while Texas’ McKenna stopped 28 of 33 shots.
Round 2 between Chicago and Texas takes place at 7 p.m. Saturday at H-E-B Center in Cedar Park, Texas. The game will be broadcast on CW50 in the Chicago area and streamed live on AHLLive.com across the country.
For complete 2017-18 game and broadcast schedules, visit ChicagoWolves.com.