Manitoba’s Kristian Vesalainen scored on the two-man advantage midway through the third period to trigger a 3-1 victory over the Chicago Wolves on Friday night at Bell MTS Place.
Forward Reid Duke scored for the Wolves (10-14-2-0), who never trailed until Vesalainen’s power-play goal off a Chicago defenseman’s skate with 11:51 to play
The Wolves leaped into the lead just 2:18 into the game as Duke controlled the puck just outside of the right faceoff circle and fired it toward the traffic in front of the net. Duke hustled toward the net, gathered the loose puck just outside of the crease and flicked it home for the 1-0 lead.
Manitoba (13-12-0-0) evened the score on an unlikely goal from former Wolves defenseman Jimmy Oligny at 10:24 of the second period. Defenseman Leon Gawanke fired wildly from the right point and his shot slammed off the back boards and ricocheted to the left half-wall. That’s where Oligny claimed the puck and sent it toward Wolves goaltender Garret Sparks, who got a piece of the shot but couldn’t stop it from trickling into the net.
The game’s momentum turned in Manitoba’s favor when the Wolves took a pair of penalties with 13:47 to play. Valentin Zykov was whistled for slashing, then Patrick Brown and Nicolas Roy took turns being tossed out of the subsequent faceoff – the latter infraction counting as a delay of game.
The Wolves nearly killed off the 5-on-3 situation, but Vesalainen banked a centering pass off a Wolves defenseman’s skate into the net with four seconds left on the power play — Manitoba’s only shot while owning the two-man advantage.
Forward Skyler McKenzie, who assisted on the Moose’s first two goals, earned an insurance goal with 1:17 to go when he whistled a puck from the defensive zone into the empty net.
Sparks (4-8-2) stopped 20 of 22 shots for the Wolves while Moose goaltender Mikhail Berdin (12-10-0) posted 26 saves to pick up the win.
The Wolves and Moose meet again at 6 p.m. Saturday on AHLTV. Chicago returns to Allstate Arena on Saturday, Dec. 14, for Star Wars Night.