The Chicago Wolves erased a two-goal deficit in the second period, but fell to the Charlotte Checkers 5-3 in Game 2 of the Calder Cup Finals on Sunday night at Bojangles’ Coliseum.
Center Gage Quinney scored two second-period goals while forward Keegan Kolesar also notched a goal for Chicago (12-7), which split the first two contests and gets to host the next three games at Allstate Arena. Goaltender Oscar Dansk (10-6) stopped 26 of 30 shots.
“This was probably our weakest game, I felt, from the second period on,” said Wolves head coach Rocky Thompson. “I really thought that they controlled it, even though we had some good looks and they had to make some big saves. We were looser than we normally are and Oscar had to face a lot of rubber from high-danger scoring areas.”
Nick Schilkey, Nicolas Roy, Stelio Mattheos, Tomas Jurco and Andrew Poturalski scored for Charlotte (12-4) while netminder Dustin Tokarski (4-0) made 20 saves.
The Checkers went up 1-0 with a shorthanded goal from Schilkey at the 3:50 mark after the forward caught a stretch pass behind the Wolves defense and put the puck behind Dansk.
Kolesar tied the game less at 4:43 after forward Cody Glass picked up the puck along the boards and slotted a pass to Kolesar at the goal line. Kolesar finessed his way across the front of the crease and buried the puck for the equalizer.
The Checkers took a 3-1 lead with back-to-back goals early in the second with Roy redirecting a shot at 5:34 and Mattheos scoring unassisted at 5:48, but the Wolves came back to tie the game thanks to Quinney’s pair of goals.
Quinney set up in front of the crease and batted a waist-high Jake Bischoff pass into the back of the net at 7:00 to put the Wolves within one goal. Then at 11:13, Kolesar led a rush and fed a pass to Quinney going down the left wing. He raced around a defenseman, drove to the net and put a backhand over Tokarski’s glove on the power play to make it a 3-3 game.
Jurco regained the lead for Charlotte when he one-timed a shot that barely skipped over the goal line at 18:53 of the second period before Poturalski scored an empty-net goal with one minute to go to seal the victory.
“I think we’re fine,” Quinney said. “We came on the road and got the one we needed. Two would’ve been obviously really nice, but it doesn’t work like that sometimes.”
The Wolves and Checkers meet for Game 3 Wednesday night at Allstate Arena with Game 4 Thursday and Game 5 Saturday. To secure the best tickets, visit ChicagoWolves.com or call 1-800-THE-WOLVES.