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Brannstrom, Wolves take 25th anniversary season opener

LOVELAND, Colorado – Nineteen-year-old defenseman Erik Brannstrom scored 48 seconds into overtime of his North American professional debut to give the Chicago Wolves a 3-2 season-opening win Friday night at Colorado.

Brannstrom, a 2017 NHL first-round pick by the Vegas Golden Knights, scored two goals during the game and center T.J. Tynan the other for the Wolves (1-0-0-0) at Budweiser Events Center.

Goaltender Oscar Dansk (1-0-0) posted 27 saves to earn the victory while forward Tomas Hyka contributed two assists as Chicago spoiled the American Hockey League debut of the Colorado Eagles, who became the AHL’s 31st team this summer.

Colorado goaltender Spencer Martin (0-0-1) stopped 14 shots in the loss.

The Wolves and the Eagles (0-0-1) were scoreless for more than 30 minutes before Brannstrom, after drawing a delayed penalty, walked to the top of the left circle and blasted a riser past Martin at 11:54 of the second period.

Colorado’s A.J. Greer knotted the game 68 seconds later, but Tynan responded with a power-play goal from the bottom of the left circle to give the Wolves a 2-1 lead with 4:30 left in the second.

That’s where the score stayed until there was 4:42 left in regulation, when Colorado forward Igor Shvyrev redirected a shot as part of heavy traffic in front of the net.

The Wolves took home the victory 48 seconds into overtime when Brannstrom skated to the dot of the left circle and unleashed a wrister that brought the entire squad on the ice to celebrate.

The Wolves and Eagles meet again at 8 p.m. Saturday and the game will be streamed for free on the new AHLTV network. Chicago hosts its 25th home opener at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 13, against the Grand Rapids Griffins at Allstate Arena.