The Chicago Wolves cut a three-goal deficit down to one, but eventually fell to the Milwaukee Admirals 4-2 on Saturday night at Allstate Arena.
Forwards Ryan Wagner and Tomas Hyka scored for Chicago (41-20-5-3) while netminder Zach Fucale (1-3-0) stopped 25 shots. The Wolves kept their four-point Central Division lead over Grand Rapids with seven games left.
“It was tough for us tonight,” said Wolves head coach Rocky Thompson. “We didn’t play overly well. We had opportunities, but we weren’t executing. You could tell our passes were off a little bit. “
Austin Watson and Eeli Tolvanen each scored twice for Milwaukee (30-24-13-2). Goaltender Tom McCollum (11-10-10) recorded 22 saves.
Watson put Milwaukee on the board just 26 seconds into the first period, capitalizing on a loose puck near the Wolves net.
Tolvanen doubled the Admirals’ lead at the 2:31 mark of the second, scoring on the power play, and Watson added his second goal of the night at the 16:37 point of the second period to give Milwaukee a 3-0 advantage.
Wagner struck at the 17:15 point to cut into the Milwaukee lead, tipping a shot from defenseman Griffin Reinhart. The Wolves had a man advantage with a delayed penalty pending for Milwaukee, so Wagner was uncovered in front of McCollum to redirect the puck.
Hyka struck 3:25 into the third period, tallying his third power-play goal in the last two games. Hyka’s wrist shot from the left faceoff dot redirected off Milwaukee defenseman Jarred Tinordi’s skate and past McCollum to put the Wolves within one goal.
Tolvanen reclaimed the two-goal lead for the Admirals with a bomb from the point that beat Fucale glove-side at the 7:58 mark of the third period.
The Wolves travel to Rockford at 4 p.m. Sunday for the final Illinois Lottery Cup clash of the regular season and it will be televised on CW50. The team returns to Allstate Arena on Saturday to face the Colorado Eagles.