American Hockey League MVP Daniel Carr scored 6:01 into double-overtime to lift the Wolves over the San Diego Gulls 2-1 in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals on Friday night at Pechanga Arena.
The Wolves pulled into a 2-2 tie in this best-of-seven series as defenseman Griffin Reinhart scored in regulation for Chicago (9-6) while goaltender Oscar Dansk (8-5) matched his career-high with 40 saves.
“This is huge,” said Wolves head coach Rocky Thompson. “We found a way. We had a great first half of the game, then it fell off for us a little bit. Give them credit. They came hard and Oscar kept us in there in the overtime. We persevered. That’s been our whole year.”
Carr’s game-winner capped his end-to-end-to-end dash during a hectic shift before 12,147 fans. Curtis McKenzie won a puck behind San Diego’s net and tried to center it to Carr outside the crease, but the pass just missed Carr’s stick and set up an odd-man rush for the Gulls.
Carr raced back with the defensemen to stop the Gulls attack, then turned around to head down the center lane of the ice again. McKenzie picked up the errant puck and skated up to the Wolves’ blue line before sending a pass up to center T.J. Tynan, who crossed over the Gulls blue line and centered a pass to Carr. He skated in toward the San Diego defense before rifling a shot through traffic and under San Diego goaltender Kevin Boyle.
“We had a 4-on-2 back the other way,” Carr said. “T.J. made a great play through the triangle. I’ve had a lot of Grade A (chances) and finally that one went in.”
Justin Kloos scored the lone goal for San Diego (9-5) while Boyle (3-1) finished his night with 42 saves.
Reinhart broke a scoreless tie 4:17 into the second period, scoring his first career Calder Cup playoff goal to give the Wolves a 1-0 advantage. Center Gage Quinney forced a turnover at the far boards of San Diego’s zone, allowing Tomas Hyka to pick up the loose puck and circle deep into the zone. Hyka sent a centering pass over to Reinhart in the high slot that the defenseman sent home between Boyle’s legs for the difference-maker after 40 minutes of play.
Kloos knotted the game 3:36 into the third frame, forcing the overtime sessions with his tally from the right faceoff circle.
The Wolves and Gulls meet for Game 5 at 9 p.m. Saturday in San Diego. The game will be streamed on AHLTV (TheAHL.com/AHLTV). The series returns to Allstate Arena for Game 6 at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 27, and Game 7 on Wednesday, May 29.