Forward Keegan Kolesar produced two power-play goals in the first 11 minutes to trigger the Chicago Wolves’ 5-2 victory over the San Antonio Rampage on Friday night at AT&T Center.
Forwards Valentin Zykov, Brandon Pirri and Patrick Brown also scored for the Wolves (18-17-3-1), who notched a season-high three power-play goals. Goaltender Oscar Dansk (13-6-1) posted 33 saves to earn his ninth win in his last 10 appearances.
The Wolves have gone 7-2-1-1 in their last 11 games to solidify their third-place spot in the AHL’s Central Division while pushing above the .500 mark for the first time since Nov. 9.
The teams swapped power-play goals in the first six minutes. The Wolves scored first at 2:04 as forward Reid Duke handed the puck at the defensive blue line to Kolesar, who built a head of steam and slalomed through multiple San Antonio defenders before beating goaltender Ville Husso from close range for his first goal of the season.
San Antonio’s Austin Poganski answered at 5:12. Defenseman Zach Whitecloud anticipated a Rampage pass across the slot and broke it up, but the deflection went right to Poganski for a quick flip.
Kolesar delivered another power-play goal at 10:47 of the first after Duke delivered a perfect backhand pass to Kolesar breaking alone toward the goal. Husso rejected Kolesar’s first shot as he was being slashed by center Cam Darcy. While the official raised his hand to call the penalty, Kolesar chased down the rebound along the back boards and banked it off Husso’s skate into the net for the 2-1 lead.
Zykov pushed the Wolves’ advantage to 3-1 with another power-play tally just 1:06 into the second. Pirri passed the puck to Zykov at the top of the right faceoff circle. Zykov spun away from two Rampage defenders, reached the bottom of the circle and elevated a wrister top-shelf.
Pirri delivered his ninth goal of the year to give the Wolves a 4-1 lead at 9:38 of the second. Pirri tried to fire on Husso from close range, but his stick snapped. He sprinted to the bench, received a new stick from Wolves equipment manager Ryan Shoufer, rushed back to the high slot and accepted a Brown pass that he hammered home.
The Rampage (13-15-5-4) narrowed the gap to 4-2 with 6:34 left in the second on Poganski’s second goal of the night. San Antonio earned a power-play opportunity shortly afterward, but the Wolves took advantage of a poor pass for a 2-on-1 rush that led to Brown’s shorthanded goal. Husso stopped Gage Quinney’s attempt to jam home the puck, but the rebound went right to Brown in front of a wide-open net.
Brown’s goal inspired San Antonio to remove Husso in favor of backup goaltender Adam Wilcox. Husso (9-11-6) stopped 17 of 22 shots while Wilcox handled all five that he faced.
Chicago and San Antonio meet again at 7 p.m. Saturday. The Wolves return to Allstate Arena on Saturday, Jan. 18, on Teddy Bear Toss Night. The team also will debut their Military Appreciation jerseys, presented by Turtle Wax, that will be auctioned and raffled to help the USO, Honor Flight and K9s For Veterans.