Teemu Pulkkinen notched a goal and three assists to help power the Chicago Wolves past the Ontario Reign, 5-2, in the Wolves home opener Saturday at Allstate Arena.
Alex Tuch, Paul Thompson, Tomas Hyka and Brandon Pirri also scored for Chicago while goaltender Max Lagace made 34 saves in his first victory of the season. After the game, the players presented head coach Rocky Thompson with the game puck to commemorate his first win with the Wolves.
“I’m going to enjoy this tonight and then we’ll get back to work,” Thompson said. “I thought (Lagace) played really well tonight, which is great for his confidence. I thought you could see that he had some swagger.”
Chicago (1-1-1-0) opened scoring late in the first frame — while skating on the power play — when Pulkkinen fed a pass to Pirri through a cross-slot gap for a shot that hit the net. However, Tuch banged home the rebound from atop the crease for the 1-0 lead.
The Wolves began a three-goal second period at 5:17 when Thompson knocked in a rebound while sliding into the net. Just 2:38 later, shortly after a 5-on-3 opportunity ended, Hyka followed the play to the net and chipped in Chicago’s third goal.
With less than five minutes to go in the middle stanza, Pulkkinen flipped the puck to the side of the goalmouth from behind the Reign net and Pirri smacked it in for the 4-0 score.
The Reign (0-3-0-0) ended their 127-minute, 40-second goal drought with two tallies just 29 seconds apart beginning at 1:03 of the third period. Philippe Maillet and Brett Sutter each netted their first marker of the season.
Pulkkinen netted Chicago’s fifth goal at 15:31 of the final frame when he batted in a rebound chance.
The Wolves resume action on Saturday, Oct. 21, for the first of back-to-back games with the Tucson Roadrunners in their first trip to the Allstate Arena.