The Chicago Wolves fired off four goals in the second period to rally from a 3-0 deficit and edge the Grand Rapids Griffins 5-4 Thursday at Allstate Arena.
T.J. Tynan‘s early third-period goal stood as the game-winner and the Wolves (12-12-4-1) center also collected an assist. Defenseman Jason Garrison and forwards Brett Sterling, Paul Thompson and Scooter Vaughan all tallied in the win. Vaughan’s marker was his first of the season.
“Our guys woke up and played really well for the last 40 minutes,” said Wolves head coach Rocky Thompson.
The Griffins (10-15-1-3) opened scoring with a pair of goals just 13 seconds apart beginning at the 7:33 mark of the first period. Colin Campbell netted the first marker when he chipped in a loose puck during a net-front scramble. Then, on a rush that started with a clean breakout play from behind the Grand Rapids net, defenseman Robbie Russo deposited a cross-slot pass from Tyler Bertuzzi for the 2-0 lead.
With veterans Sterling and Teemu Pulkkinen serving penalties for unrelated offenses, the Griffins only needed 34 seconds of their two-minute 5-on-3 power play to extend their lead to 3-0. Matt Lorito fed a pass across the top of the crease to Bertuzzi on the opposite side of the net for Grand Rapids at 17:03.
Sterling cut the Griffins’ lead to 3-1 less than five minutes into the second period. Defenseman Jake Bischoff led the rush toward the Grand Rapids zone and passed the puck to Sterling in the neutral zone. Sterling carried into the offensive zone up the right wing and zipped a shot past Tom McCollum (3-7-3) on the far side.
Just 3:26 later, Chicago climbed within a goal as Vaughan collected his first goal of the season. Tyler Wong won the offensive-zone faceoff and after a scuttle along the boards, Vaughan came up with the puck and put it in the back of the net.
In the final five minutes of the middle frame, Tynan bounced the puck of the boards behind the Grand Rapids net and it redirected right to captain Thompson, who produced the 3-3 game-tying goal at 14:51.
With 2:47 left on the clock in the second period, Garrison boomed a shot from the point off a Tobias Lindberg faceoff win to send the Wolves to the dressing room with a 4-3 lead.
At 1:39 of the third session – skating with a 4-on-3 power play – Tynan won a faceoff and pushed the puck back to Garrison at the left point. Garrison then fed a pass to Tynan in position at the top of the opposite circle. Tynan skated into the dot and whipped a shot over McCollum’s shoulder to make it 5-3.
The Griffins wouldn’t quit and at 12:24 – with Garrison in the penalty box for boarding – Lorito again made a pass through the slot to Bertuzzi camped out near the bottom of the opposite circle for Grand Rapids’ fourth goal.
The Wolves weathered two minutes of 6-on-5 time – McCollum was on the bench for the extra attacker – to wrap up the 5-4 victory.
Wolves netminder Max Lagace (6-2-0) made 30 saves for his fifth straight win while McCollum stopped 22 shots in the loss.
The Wolves travel to Rockford for an Illinois Lottery Cup contest Friday, Dec. 22. Puck drop between Chicago and the Rockford IceHogs is set for 7 p.m. and the game will be televised on The U Too.