Wade Megan netted two goals and Brandon Pirri collected three assists but the Chicago Wolves fell 6-4 to the Iowa Wild Sunday at Allstate Arena.
Megan’s goals were his first two of the year while Pirri’s three-point performance was his first of the season. T.J. Tynan registered his second goal of the year and Teemu Pulkkinen, the team’s leading scorer, ended a 10-game goal drought.
“It’s important for us to get production from those guys,” said Wolves head coach Rocky Thompson. “They play the most minutes. They get the best opportunities on the power play. It’s good for them to feel good about scoring some goals because, if we’re going to win hockey games moving forward, everybody has to contribute but our top two lines have to be catalysts for us.”
Iowa (10-7-2-0) jumped to a 1-0 lead just 2:09 into the first period when Sam Anas chipped the puck into a wide-open net. The initial point shot bounced around a crowded crease right to Anas alone at the side of the net and Michael Leighton (3-4-3) did not get over in time.
At 7:09 of the second period, Megan and Pirri buzzed around the left offensive corner with Pirri eventually getting the puck to Megan for a shot that whizzed through a crowd into the net for the 1-1 equalizer.
The Wolves (5-10-3-1) gained their first lead of the contest just 2:19 later on a failed Wild clearing attempt. Iowa goaltender Niklas Svedberg (6-7-1) tried to shoot the puck from the crease toward the boards, but it bounced off a defenseman right to Pirri. He spun around and fired it to Tynan streaking up the slot for a one-timer.
Following a Wolves chance that ricocheted off the goal post, the Wild captured two goals just 20 seconds apart to retake the lead 3-2 at 13:55. Former Wolves captain Pat Cannone and left wing Kyle Rau each tallied.
Less than four minutes into the third session — skating with the man advantage — from the top of the left circle, Megan posted his second marker of the contest on a cross-ice feed from Beau Bennett, who dished the puck from the right offensive corner.
The Wild took their third lead of the game at 7:56 when Cal O’Reilly sped around the Wolves net and fed a pass to Anas waiting in the slot. The 4-3 go-ahead goal was Anas’ second of the game.
On the power play, Iowa pushed its lead to 5-3 at 11:04 when Alex Grant ripped a shot down the slot that found its way behind Leighton.
With Leighton on the bench for the extra attacker, Pulkkinen blasted a chance from the right point to pull the Wolves within 5-4 at 17:23.
O’Reilly flipped a backhand shot into an empty net at 19:31 for the 6-4 final.
Svedberg made 25 saves en route to his sixth victory of the season while Leighton stopped 17 shots in the loss.
On Friday, Dec. 1, the Wolves travel to BMO Harris Bank Center for another Illinois Lottery Cup contest with the Rockford IceHogs. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on The U Too.