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Wolves rally, but fall in OT

Chicago 2 | Manitoba 3
PPGs by McKenzie and Schuldt get Wolves to their first overtime since Oct. 20

Defenseman Jonathan Kovacevic scored 18 seconds into overtime to guide the Manitoba Moose to a 3-2 victory over the Chicago Wolves on Saturday night at Allstate Arena.

Forward Curtis McKenzie and defenseman Jimmy Schuldt delivered power-play goals for the Wolves (9-13-2-0), who rallied from a 2-0 deficit to force their first overtime since Oct. 20.

“The power play looked really good,” said Wolves head coach Rocky Thompson. “And I thought our 5-on-5 game looked really good, actually. We had a good game tonight. We made some mistakes that left them with some really good chances, so that’s tough. But I really liked how we didn’t give up.”

Manitoba (12-11-0-0) opened the scoring at 7:11 of the second period. Center C.J. Suess tracked down a loose puck in the corner, spotted left wing Emile Poirier going hard to the crease and sent him a perfect feed that Poirier tapped past goaltender Garret Sparks.

The Moose boosted their lead to 2-0 just 1:38 later as the Wolves turned over the puck in the neutral zone. Forward Hunter Fejes collected it while racing into the offensive zone, then dropped it back to former Wolves defenseman Jimmy Oligny for a blast from the left faceoff circle that banged off the post and in.

The Wolves answered with McKenzie’s power-play goal at the 16:00 mark. Brandon Pirri sent a backhand from the half-wall to Valentin Zykov, who backpedaled toward the goal line to create better spacing. Then he flicked a pass into the left circle for McKenzie, who punched it past goaltender Mikhail Berdin to cut the margin to 2-1.

Chicago took advantage of a high-sticking double-minor by Manitoba’s C.J. Suess to knot the score at 11:51 of the third. Schuldt blasted a slapshot from just inside the blue line that hit a Moose defender and changed directions past Berdin.

Mikhail Berdin (11-9-0) posted 26 saves in the win while Sparks (4-7-2) stopped 17 shots.

The Wolves embark on a four-game road trip – starting with Wednesday’s visit to Grand Rapids – before returning to Allstate Arena on Saturday, Dec. 14, for Star Wars Night.