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McKenzie, Wolves roast Griffins

Chicago 5 | Grand Rapids 2
McKenzie stacks up four points (2G, 2A) and Dansk rejects 27 shots

Veteran forward Curtis McKenzie produced two goals and two assists to lead the Chicago Wolves to a 5-2 victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins on Wednesday night at Allstate Arena.

Forward Tye McGinn and defenseman Jimmy Schuldt and Jaycob Megna joined McKenzie in the scoring column as the Wolves (9-12-1-0) snapped a three-game losing streak. Oscar Dansk (4-5-0) posted 27 saves to earn the win.

“Tonight was great,” said Wolves head coach Rocky Thompson. “It was a nice mixture. We scored goals at the right time — when we needed to. Special teams was good tonight. Oscar was excellent. When we made a mistake, he was there and played really well to make the big save at the right time.”

The Wolves opened the scoring by capitalizing on the game’s first power play. McGinn found an open spot in the slot, corralled defenseman Dylan Coghlan’s pass from the corner and whistled a wrister past goaltender Calvin Pickard at 16:40 of the first.

Chicago pushed the lead to 2-0 with 56 seconds left in first when Gage Quinney spied Schuldt speeding alone into the offensive zone. Schuldt took Quinney’s pass, rushed to the high slot and fired it home.

Megna got into the act at 8:24 of the second to deliver what proved to be the game-winning goal. McKenzie owned the puck beneath the goal line, spotted Megna moving to an open area in the left faceoff circle and fed him for a quick wrister to make it 3-0.

After Grand Rapids’ Chris Terry tipped an Alec McCrea shot to cut the deficit to 3-1, McKenzie scored from close range to regain a three-goal lead for the Wolves. Center Nicolas Roy claimed a loose puck along the right half-wall and backhanded a pass to McKenzie, who surged between defenders and flipped home the puck at 18:37 of the second.

Grand Rapids (9-10-1-1) pulled within two again when Dominic Turgeon scored at 6:51 of the third, but McKenzie answered by swiping the puck just outside the blue line, racing in and banging a shot off the post and home for a 5-2 lead with 3:59 to go.

Pickard (7-6-2) stopped 17 of 22 shots.

The Wolves visit Rockford at 7 p.m. Friday for an Illinois Lottery Cup clash televised by My50 Chicago, then return to Allstate Arena to face the Manitoba Moose at 7 p.m. Saturday.