The Chicago Wolves took hold of the lead and never looked back in a 4-2 victory over the Manitoba Moose on Sunday afternoon at Allstate Arena.
“I really liked the way we played today,” said Wolves head coach Rocky Thompson. “It’s the way we need to play every game — not just every now and again. So I’m really happy with our guys today.”
The Wolves went up 3-0 midway through the second period and stifled the Moose offense, holding Manitoba (8-8-1-0) without a single shot for over 12 minutes of play.
Wagner, a rookie from Park Ridge, gave the Wolves a 1-0 lead heading into the first intermission, scoring with 54 seconds remaining on the clock. With forward Keegan Kolesar rushing down the right side of the ice, Wagner crashed in and deposited the perfect centering pass for his first professional goal.
Less than two minutes into the second frame, McKenzie kept the momentum going and doubled the Wolves’ lead. Center Reid Duke took the draw in the Manitoba zone, winning the faceoff back to McKenzie who one-timed the draw past Moose goaltender Ken Appleby at the 18:31 mark.
Duke snagged his second assist of the contest 12 minutes into the period while skating down the right side in a two-on-two rush with McKenzie. Reinhart joined the surge and was left unchecked to send the pass from Duke past Appleby at the 7:38 mark.
The Moose broke through the 3-0 deficit with a pair of goals from forward JC Lipon, but veteran Pirri’s empty-netter with 4.7 seconds remaining in the game sealed the victory for the Wolves.
Oscar Dansk (6-3-1) earned the win after stopping 17 of 19 shots while Appleby (0-4-0) recorded 39 saves in the loss.
The Wolves play three games over Thanksgiving weekend, which includes Star Wars Night at 7 p.m. Saturday against the Grand Rapids Griffins at Allstate Arena.