The Chicago Wolves pitched a three-goal rally in the third period to force overtime, but fell to the Cleveland Monsters 4-3 in the extra session on Saturday night at Quicken Loans Arena.
Defensemen Erik Brännström and Jake Bischoff and forward Tomas Hyka all scored goals for Chicago (24-14-5-1) while goaltender Max Lagace (9-6-3) made 39 saves. By earning a point, the Wolves take 54 points into the AHL All-Star Break – just three points behind Central Division-leading Grand Rapids.
Mark Letestu scored the overtime winner while Nathan Gerbe, Alex Broadhurst and Kole Sherwood also scored goals for Cleveland (21-17-4-1). Netminder Matiss Kivlenieks (4-2-1) saved 20 of 23 shots.
Cleveland led 2-0 heading into the third period after Gerbe scored at the 12:01 mark of the first period and Broadhurst doubled the lead in the second period at 9:00.
Just 33 seconds into the third period on a Wolves man-advantage, Brännström cut the lead when he skated down the center of the Cleveland zone and snuck a wrist shot past the blocker of Kivlenieks.
Sherwood regained the two-goal lead for Cleveland when he put a rebound past Lagace at the 3:25 mark, but Bischoff rifled a shot from the left circle through traffic and past Kivlenieks at 5:00 to put the Wolves back within reach.
Hyka sent the game into overtime, knotting the game 3-3 at 14:48. Hyka took advantage of some extra space during four-on-four action and raced up the right side of the Cleveland zone. He toe-dragged around a Monsters defenseman and faked a forehand shot on Kivlenieks before popping a backhand shot over the goaltender.
Letestu scored for Cleveland 42 seconds into overtime, skating past the crease and putting a rebound in for the 4-3 win.
After the AHL All-Star Classic on Sunday and Monday in Springfield, Massachusetts, the Wolves travel to Rockford on Friday before returning to Allstate Arena on Saturday, Feb, 2, for Brandon Pirri Bobblehead Night.