Paul Cotter’s first professional goal broke a tie midway through the third period to lift the Chicago Wolves to a 4-3 victory over the Iowa Wild on Saturday night at Wells Fargo Arena.
Cotter, a 20-year-old rookie, tipped home Jimmy Schuldt’s pass with 10:16 remaining to give the Wolves (15-16-2-0) their fourth win in the last five games. Defensemen Zach Whitecloud and Schuldt and forward Valentin Zykov also scored for Chicago.
Iowa (17-12-2-2) took the initial lead on forward Kyle Bauman’s goal at 10:48 of the first. Veteran forward Gerald Mayhew collected the puck behind Chicago’s net, waited patiently for Bauman to move into an open spot in the slot and fed him for a quick shot.
The Wolves seized their first lead with a pair of goals 26 seconds apart late in the first. Whitecloud pulled Chicago even when he blasted a slap shot into the top corner of the net at 16:39. Gage Quinney’s shot from the left faceoff circle ricocheted off an Iowa defender and bounded out to the point, where Whitecloud settled the puck and fired it through traffic.
Shortly thereafter, Brandon Pirri led Quinney into the offensive zone with a long pass. Quinney spied Schuldt rushing into the zone and sauced a gentle pass behind him so Schuldt could unleash a blast from the high slot to make it 2-1 at 17:05 of the first.
Iowa’s Sam Anas knotted the game 48 seconds into the second period. Mayhew misfired on a shot just outside the crease, but Anas picked up the loose puck and flicked it into the net.
The Wolves regained the lead with Zykov’s power-play goal at 11:12 of the second. Surveying the scene from the corner, Pirri centered a pass into the crease where Curtis McKenzie, Iowa goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen and a Wild defenseman plunged to their knees to wrestle for the puck. It squirted free from the scrum and Zykov skated into the crease to tap the puck into the net.
Iowa’s Brandon Duhaime squared the game 3-3 with 1:13 left in the second when he spun along the half-wall and wristed a shot through traffic. The game’s third tie set the stage for Cotter’s heroics.
Wolves goaltender Oscar Dansk (9-6-0) posted 25 saves to extend his winning streak to six games. Kahkonen (11-2-1) stopped 19 shots in the loss.
The Wolves return to Allstate Arena at 3 p.m. Sunday to face the Milwaukee Admirals in the final home game of the decade. It’s a Little Debbie Sunday, which features free Dave & Buster’s play cards for the first 1,000 kids.