Defenseman Philip Holm and birthday boy Brandon Pirri each scored in the shootout to help the Chicago Wolves edge the Milwaukee Admirals 4-3 on Tuesday night at UWM Panther Arena. With the victory, the Wolves are two points closer — their magic number is now four — to earning back-to-back Central Division titles.
The Wolves (40-22-7-4; 91 points) lead the Manitoba Moose, Grand Rapids Griffins and Rockford IceHogs by three points with three regular-season games remaining.
Defenseman Jake Bischoff scored his second goal in as many games while Teemu Pulkkinen and captain Paul Thompson accounted for Chicago’s other two tallies.
After a scoreless first period, the Wolves opened scoring just 38 seconds into the second session when T.J. Tynan cycled the puck to Bischoff at the right point. The rookie blasted a laser that found twine for the 1-0 lead.
The Admirals (38-30-4-2) tied the game with 3:37 to play in the frame when Anthony Richard netted his 19th of the season.
While Mark McNeill served a tripping infraction, Chicago cashed in on the power play for the 2-1 lead at 3:13 of the third. On the power-play rush, Stefan Matteau made a quick pass through the slot right to the tape of Thompson’s stick and he redirected the puck behind Anders Lindback (31-20-5) for the go-ahead goal.
Chicago built a two-goal lead 2:17 later when Pulkkinen collected his 25th goal of the season. From the left-side boards, Tynan pushed the puck to Pulkkinen rushing into the zone in the same-side circle. He picked up the pass and hesitated before skating into the slot for an easy shot.
Milwaukee climbed back within a goal, 3-2, with just 4:31 to play as Frederick Gaudreau registered his 22nd goal of the year on the power play.
With 30 seconds to go — on the power play and with Lindback on the bench — Harry Zolnierczyk beat Oscar Dansk (12-2-4) to tie the game 3-3 and force overtime.
Trevor Smith, who scored the game-winning goal in the shootout exactly one week earlier on Chicago’s home ice, was Milwaukee’s only scorer in the shootout while Pirri and Holm each tallied in the five-round affair.
Dansk made 24 saves and stopped four of five Admirals in the shootout. Lindback stopped 22 shots through 65 minutes and rejected three shootout attempts.
The Wolves finish the 2017-18 season with a 3-in-3 that begins Friday, April 13, with an Illinois Lottery Cup contest against the Rockford IceHogs at BMO Harris Bank Center. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. and the game will be televised on The U Too.