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Sparks, Wolves stonewall Iowa

Iowa 0 | Chicago 3
Sparks earns 25th professional shutout as Wolves knock off the Central Division leaders

The Chicago Wolves wrapped up their five-game road trip with a 3-0 victory over the division-leading Iowa Wild on Thursday morning at Wells Fargo Arena.

Garret Sparks earned his second shutout in as many starts for the Wolves (7-5-1-0) as he rejected all 35 shots he faced. The Elmhurst native has gone 157 minutes, 46 seconds without allowing a goal and the Wolves have posted an 8-0-0-1 record in their last nine morning games.

Forwards Patrick Brown, Tye McGinn and Curtis McKenzie scored goals in the Wolves’ first meeting this season with Iowa (7-2-2-1) – the team Chicago knocked off in last year’s Central Division Finals.

The Wolves opened the scoring on their first power-play chance at 11:19 of the first period. Rookie defenseman Jimmy Schuldt rifled home a shot from the point and Brown redirected it past Iowa goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen.

Chicago pushed its lead to 2-0 at 17:10 of the second. After Jake Leschyshyn won the faceoff in the offensive zone, Lucas Elvenes claimed the puck and circled behind Iowa’s net. When he spied McGinn camped just outside the crease, he placed a pass right on his stick for a quick shovel past Kahkonen. Elvenes’ assist pushed his point streak to an AHL-best 11 games.

McKenzie added an empty-net goal with 3:14 to go as Iowa head coach Tim Army pulled his goaltender with 3:51 left to try to carve into the Wolves’ two-goal lead.

Sparks (4-2-1) finished with his 17th career American Hockey League shutout and 25th since turning pro in 2013. Kahkonen (6-1-0) stopped 12 of 14 shots.

The Wolves return to Allstate Arena at 7 p.m. Saturday against the Manitoba Moose as part of Military Appreciation Weekend.