The Chicago Wolves fell into a two-goal deficit from which they could not quite recover as the Iowa Wild posted a 2-1 victory in Game 4 of the Central Division Finals on Wednesday night at Wells Fargo Arena.
Forward Curtis McKenzie scored in the third period for Chicago (5-4) while goaltender Oscar Dansk (4-3) recorded 20 saves as Iowa pulled even in the best-of-seven series.
The Wolves outshot the Wild 34-22 for the night, which included a 25-12 edge during the final 40 minutes. Gerald Mayhew scored both goals for Iowa (5-4) while captain Cal O’Reilly assisted on both tallies. Netminder Andrew Hammond (5-4) stopped 33 shots.
“I thought Oscar kept us relevant because of his good first period,” said Wolves head coach Rocky Thompson. “We gave up a lot of good opportunities in the first, but he held them to a one-shot game. We had a good second period for sure. I thought Hammond did a really good job. I really liked our pushback in the final 10 minutes.”
Mayhew opened up the scoring 13:01 into the first period when he cut in across the crease and sent a backhand past Dansk.
After a scoreless second period, Mayhew doubled the lead 5:25 into the third period when he pushed a loose puck through for a 2-0 lead.
McKenzie spoiled Hammond’s shutout bid at the 9:11 mark of the third, tipping a shot from defenseman Zac Leslie into the net to make it a one-goal game. The Wolves couldn’t muster the equalizer despite pulling Dansk for an extra attacker for the final two minutes.
The Wolves and the Wild meet for Game 5 at 7 p.m. Friday in Des Moines. The game will be streamed on AHLTV. The Wolves host Game 6 at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 13, and, if necessary, Game 7 on Wednesday, May 15.