The Chicago Wolves prevailed in a must-win Game 4 of the Central Division Semifinals, topping the Grand Rapids Griffins 5-2 at Van Andel Arena on Wednesday night to force a decisive Game 5.
Forwards Tye McGinn, T.J. Tynan, Keegan Kolesar and Cody Glass and defenseman Nic Hague scored goals for Chicago (2-2). Oscar Dansk (1-1) stopped 29 shots as the Central Division champions regained home-ice advantage. The Wolves host Game 5 at 3 p.m. Sunday at Allstate Arena.
Derek Hulak and Turner Elson scored for Grand Rapids (2-2) while Harri Sateri (2-2) recorded 29 saves.
“We had a meeting this morning about not lamenting on what happened the previous night,” said Wolves head coach Rocky Thompson, referring to Grand Rapids’ 6-2 victory in a Game 3 marred by 144 penalty minutes. “Just focusing on what we needed to do for the game tonight.
“I thought our guys did a really good job. Our leadership stepped up and really took control of the locker room – controlling the emotions of each other, really – and playing a much more disciplined game. Not getting sucked into stuff after the whistle.”
Hulak gave the Griffins the lead at the 7:02 mark of the second period, scoring shortly after a Wolves penalty kill had expired, but the Wolves responded with two power-play goals before the next intermission.
Hague broke through first at 9:19 while Christoffer Ehn was sitting for a delay of game call. McGinn hit Hague with a pass across the zone to the right circle and he rifled it past Sateri to tie up the game.
“I think Nic Hague’s goal was huge,” Tynan said. “They score. We’re down a goal and (our power-play unit) didn’t have much time left. They went out there and executed perfectly. That got us going. Once we get our momentum going, there’s a pretty good chance to win games.”
Tynan lifted the Wolves to a 2-1 advantage at the 12:44 mark with a power-play goal from almost the same spot as Hague — sending a laser over Sateri’s blocker while Joe Hicketts was in the penalty box.
Glass picked up right where Tynan left off, scoring 1:03 into the third period to give the Wolves a 3-1 lead. McGinn entered the Griffins zone and faked a shot before passing down to Glass near the left post where he had a wide-open net to shoot into after Sateri dropped to the ice.
Elson responded at 2:08 to make it a one-goal game, but the Wolves held off the charge before adding McGinn’s and Kolesar’s empty-net goals in the final 1:19 to claim the victory.
McGinn cut off a pass between the Griffins defense and sent a shot all the way down the ice into the open net at 18:41 before Kolesar slid a puck into the open goal at 19:49.
The Wolves and Griffins meet for Game 5 on Sunday at Allstate Arena to determine which team moves on to the Central Division Finals.