The Chicago Wolves bolted to a four-goal lead and cruised to a 5-2 victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins on Wednesday night at Van Andel Arena.
Defensemen Jake Bischoff and Brayden Pachal and forwards Brandon Pirri, Valentin Zykov and Tye McGinn scored for the Wolves (10-13-2-0). Forward Lucas Elvenes, center Nicolas Roy and defenseman Dylan Coghlan handed out two assists apiece while goaltender Oscar Dansk (5-6-0) posted 28 saves.
The Wolves jumped on the board with 16 seconds left in the first period on Bischoff’s first goal of the season.
Coghlan took a pass at the right point and quickly swung it to Bischoff at the left point. Bischoff unleashed a blast with forward Curtis McKenzie stationed in front of goaltender Calvin Pickard and a Grand Rapids defenseman. The puck missed McKenzie, but trickled through Pickard’s legs.
Chicago pushed its lead to 2-0 early in the second on Pachal’s first professional goal. The 20-year-old whistled a wrister from just inside the blue line that whizzed past traffic and into the net.
Pirri gave the Wolves a 3-0 lead at 10:31 of the second with his 300th career AHL point. Coghlan controlled the puck at the Wolves blue line, spied Pirri moving with speed toward the offensive zone and whisked a pass that led Pirri past a defenseman to beat Pickard.
Zykov’s first goal with the Wolves came on the power play at 18:22. Pirri fed the puck down to the goal line for McKenzie, who fed Zykov coming down the slot for a quick blast from close range to make it 4-0.
Grand Rapids (9-13-1-1) ended Dansk’s shutout when forward Taro Hirose, just loaned to the Griffins by the Detroit Red Wings, tipped home a Givani Smith centering pass to cut the Wolves’ lead to 4-1 with 16:46 to go.
Grand Rapids’ Evgeny Svechnikov added a power-play goal with 59 seconds left, but McGinn answered with his empty-net wrister from the Wolves’ defensive zone with three seconds left to set the final margin.
Pickard (7-7-2) stopped 21 of 25 shots in the loss.
The Wolves continue their road trip Friday at Manitoba. They return to Allstate Arena on Saturday, Dec. 14, for Star Wars Night.