The Cleveland Monsters scored twice in the third period to emerge with a 5-3 victory over the Chicago Wolves on Thursday night at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.
Forwards Tye McGinn, Jake Leschyshyn and Brandon Pirri scored for the Wolves (8-11-1-0), who played without top-line center Nicolas Roy. He was recalled by the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights on an emergency basis Wednesday.
Center Sam Vigneault set up the go-ahead goal for Cleveland (9-7-1-1) at 2:41 of the third period, then added an insurance goal at 7:35.
McGinn gave the Wolves a 1-0 lead at 6:33 of the first as center Gage Quinney created the team’s first good chance. Quinney took a pass at his own blue line and slashed his way between three Monsters to set up a 2-on-1 rush. He dished the puck to his left for McGinn, who whistled a quick shot past goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks.
Cleveland pulled even at 9:06 as defenseman Andrew Peeke fired a wrister from the right point into heavy traffic. The puck changed directions when it deflected off a Wolves defenseman before nestling in the net.
The Wolves regained the lead on Leschyshyn’s second professional goal. Rookie defenseman Jimmy Schuldt rifled a one-timer from the left point and Leschyshyn redirected it over Kivlenieks’ shoulder for a 2-1 edge at 12:28 of the first.
The Monsters answered again as center Kevin Stenlund claimed the puck next to the net and stuffed it between goaltender Oscar Dansk’s legs to make it 2-2 at 16:35.
Veteran defenseman Adam Clendening gave Cleveland its first lead at 5:14 of the second, but the Wolves responded with Pirri’s blast at 16:58. Kivlenieks blocked defenseman Jake Bischoff’s shot, but the rebound went directly to Pirri in the high slot. He made space by knocking down Stenlund, kicked the puck to his forehand and fired a rising wrister to make it 3-3 and produce his first goal since rejoining the Wolves Sunday.
Cleveland took advantage of a 2-on-1 rush to take a 4-3 lead early in the third. Vigneault set up Derek Barach on the doorstep for a quick chip into the net at 2:41. Vigneault picked up an insurance goal when he tapped home a puck rolling through the crease at 7:35.
The Wolves pulled Dansk for the final three-plus minutes in an effort to eliminate the two-goal deficit, but couldn’t take advantage of a 6-on-4 situation on the power play. Cleveland hit the post twice while seeking empty-net tallies.
Dansk (3-5-0) finished with 34 saves while Kivlenieks (6-1-2) stopped 24 shots.
The Wolves and Monsters meet again at 6 p.m. Friday, then Chicago returns to Allstate Arena at 7 p.m. Wednesday to face the Grand Rapids Griffins on Craft Beer Night.