Goaltender C.J. Motte made 27 saves in his first start for the Chicago Wolves to help the hosts edge the division-leading Milwaukee Admirals 2-1 Saturday night at Allstate Arena.
“It was a really good gut-check win for us tonight,” said Wolves head coach Rocky Thompson. “Motte played outstanding tonight. He kept us in it and then he gave us an opportunity to do what we did at the end.”
The Wolves (3-4-1-0) trailed for 46:50 of the contest before netting two goals — courtesy of Teemu Pulkkinen and Shea Theodore — in the latter half of the third period to snap Milwaukee’s four-game winning streak.
Milwaukee (5-2-0-0) opened game scoring at 4:55 of the first frame when Anthony Richard, standing in the slot, chipped home a wraparound pass delivered by Frederic Allard from behind the Chicago net.
At 11:45 of the third frame, the Wolves evened the game 1-1 when T.J. Tynan corralled an Admirals turnover in the Wolves’ defensive zone. He then carried up the right wing with Pulkkinen trailing. Tynan left the puck and Pulkkinen blasted it home.
Less than two minutes later, Ivan Barbashev picked the puck out of a scrum in the left corner behind the Milwaukee net, skated behind the cage and pushed a pass to Theodore. Theodore ripped a shot from the left dot that found its way behind Anders Lindback (5-1-0) for the 2-1 go-ahead goal.
Tonight marked the first start and victory for Motte (1-0-0) in a Wolves sweater. Since signing a professional tryout contract with Chicago on Oct. 19, Motte served as the backup netminder for four contests before his start Saturday night. Lindback posted 21 saves in the loss.
The Wolves travel to Grand Rapids on Friday, Nov. 3, for the second of eight games this year with the reigning Calder Cup champion Griffins. Game time is 6 p.m. and the contest will be broadcast live on The U Too in the Chicago area.