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Wolves claim first-place showdown

Chicago 5 | Grand Rapids 2
Quinney and Carr produce 3 points apiece to knock off Griffins

The Chicago Wolves took over first place in the Central Division on Wednesday night, topping the Grand Rapids Griffins 5-2 at Allstate Arena.

Center Gage Quinney tallied two goals while forwards Daniel Carr and Tyler Wong and defenseman Dylan Coghlan also scored for Chicago (23-13-3-1). Netminder Oscar Dansk (14-6-2) made 28 saves in the win.

Forwards Dominic Turgeon and Givani Smith each scored for Grand Rapids (21-13-3-4) while goaltender Patrik Rybar (9-6-5) saved 22 shots. The Griffins and the Iowa Wild trail the Wolves by 1 point in the division race.

“Look at our division,” said Wolves head coach Rocky Thompson. “Every game we’ve had seems like an important game. I was happy with our game tonight. I really was.”

Turgeon set up Grand Rapids with a goal at 2:02, breaking into the Wolves zone and slipping a shot under Dansk’s elbow, and the Griffins would take a 1-0 lead into first intermission.

The Wolves responded with three goals in the second period, taking the lead for good over the Griffins. Coghlan lit the lamp first on a 5-on-3 advantage, sending a one-timer from the top of the left circle between Rybar’s pads at 5:52.

Just 62 seconds later, Quinney snagged a puck from one of the Griffins at the Wolves blue line and raced in on Rybar. Quinney deked right before shooting left for his 10th goal of the season and a 2-1 Wolves lead.

Smith tied it up for the Griffins at 14:13, grabbing the puck off the faceoff to Dansk’s right and sending a quick shot under his glove, but it took the Wolves just 15 seconds to regain the lead.

Forward Tye McGinn was low in the Griffins zone and sent a pass up the boards to defenseman Erik Brännström at the point. Brännström centered himself before sending a slap shot in toward Wong, who tipped the shot over Rybar at 14:28.

Quinney put away his second at the 8:35 mark of the third period, catching a pass from behind the net in the slot and sending it over Rybar’s blocker.

Carr sealed the win with an empty-net goal at 19:41.

The Wolves return to Allstate Arena at 7 p.m. Saturday for an Illinois Lottery Cup clash with the Rockford IceHogs. It will be the Wolves’ inaugural eSports Night as well as the debut of the team’s commemorative Animal Adoption Awareness jerseys.