The Chicago Wolves scored early and often in one of the biggest tests of the season so far, defeating the Texas Stars 6-1 on Tuesday afternoon at Allstate Arena.
Rookie defenseman Zach Whitecloud scored twice and forwards Daniel Carr, Keegan Kolesar, Brandon Pirri and Tomas Hyka also tallied goals for Chicago while goaltender Oscar Dansk (9-4-2) saved 23 shots in the win.
The Wolves (16-9-2-1) have won six in a row and averaged 4.7 goals per game since suffering a 7-4 defeat to Texas on Dec. 2. Due to Tuesday’s puck drop being at 11 a.m., head coach Rocky Thompson and his players did most of their pregame meetings on Monday.
“I think they were excited about today’s game,” Thompson said. “The hair on my arms was standing up yesterday when I was talking about it. I said, ‘I can’t wait to play Texas.’
And the Wolves couldn’t wait to jump out to a lead – building a 3-0 margin just 6:21 into the game. Whitecloud notched his first of the afternoon at the 4:40 mark of the first period, sending in a laser from the point after the puck swung up to him from below the net.
Hyka doubled the lead on the power play at 6:12, catching a perfect pass through the slot from forward Curtis McKenzie before burying it in the wide-open net.
Just nine seconds later at 6:21, Kolesar placed a shot over goaltender Landon Bow’s right shoulder to give Chicago three goals in 101 seconds.
Texas’ Travis Morin capitalized on Carr’s first penalty of the season, scoring on the man-advantage at 10:39 to cut into the Wolves lead.
Whitecloud wasted no time in helping the Wolves regain their three-goal advantage, scoring 35 seconds into the second frame with another rocket from up high.
Pirri added a goal at 8:27 after skating up the right boards and sniping a shot from the top of the circle over Bow’s glove, prompting Texas to put backup Philippe Desrosiers in net for the remainder of the game.
Carr got in on the action at the 10:37 point of the third on the Wolves power play, scoring on a textbook passing play. Pirri sent the puck from the circle down to forward Brooks Macek near the goalmouth before Macek snapped a pass to Carr on the doorstep.
Bow (10-5-2) saved 10 of 15 shots while Desrosiers made eight saves in relief.
The Wolves wrap up their homestand at 7 p.m. Friday when they host the Rockford IceHogs in an Illinois Lottery Cup clash at Allstate Arena. The Wolves will hosting their first Craft Beer Arena Crawl.