In his first game since Dec. 6, forward Tomas Hyka registered four points – two goals and two assists – to help the Chicago Wolves topple the Grand Rapids Griffins 6-3 Friday night at Van Andel Arena.
As the Wolves (9-12-4-1) earned their fourth win in five games, Brett Sterling took sole possession of the No. 4 spot on the Wolves franchise scoring list with two goals, Beau Bennett recorded three assists and defenseman Jason Garrison collected a goal and two assists. Forward Tobias Lindberg also scored for Chicago.
The Wolves opened scoring as Hyka – appearing in just his second game of the last 13 due to injury – gathered a bank pass from Garrison off the right boards, zipped up the wing and snapped a shot pass Jared Coreau (7-8-1) for the 1-0 lead at 15:37.
Just 1:10 into the second period, the Griffins (10-14-0-3) notched the 1-1 equalizer as Colin Campbell fed a pass to Matthew Ford on his second try through the slot for a backdoor tap-in goal.
At 17:47, Campbell took advantage of a pileup in the Chicago crease and stuffed the puck past Max Lagace (4-2-0) for the 2-1 go-ahead goal.
However, just 39 seconds later, Bennett skated out of the left offensive corner and sent a cross-ice pass to Garrison at the far point. Garrison’s blast found its way behind Coreau to tie the game at two.
With Grand Rapids’ Dan Renouf in the penalty box for holding, the Wolves regained the lead, 3-2, at 19:28 of the second as Sterling earned his 343rd point while wearing a Wolves jersey to take sole possession of the No. 4 spot on the franchise scoring list.
But the Griffins again countered and tied the game 3-3 as Ford netted his second goal of game with five seconds on the clock and Wolves captain Paul Thompson serving a penalty.
In the third period, the Wolves got back in the lead as Sterling netted the team’s fourth goal – and his 241st American Hockey League tally – just after the expiration of a power play at 9:30.
Less than four minutes later, Lindberg stretched his point streak to three games when he scooped up a loose puck lying in the slot and snapped it past Coreau to give the Wolves a 5-3 lead.
Chicago pushed its lead to 6-3 with three minutes left in the game as Hyka earned his second goal – and fourth point of the night – from the left side of the net mouth off a feed from Bennett.
In his second consecutive start, Lagace made 29 saves for the win while Coreau stopped 19 shots in the loss.
The Wolves return home to Allstate Arena for Game 2 of a 3-in-3 weekend against the Iowa Wild on Saturday, Dec. 16. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. and the contest will be televised on CW50.