The Chicago Wolves’ defense has ranked among the American Hockey League’s stingiest for the last six weeks.
Spearheaded by Oscar Dansk – the AHL’s reigning Goaltender of the Month – the defense delivered again Friday night as the Wolves rallied to earn a 2-1 victory over the Texas Stars at H-E-B Center.
Veteran forward Brandon Pirri and rookie defenseman Jimmy Schuldt scored for the Wolves (21-18-3-2) while Dansk rejected 19 of 20 shots as Chicago strengthened its hold on third place in the Central Division.
The Stars (20-19-2-2) opened the scoring at 7:13 of the first when they linked several quick passes together and found defenseman Gavin Bayreuther open above the left faceoff circle. Bayreuther stepped into a slap shot that whizzed through traffic into the back of the net.
Pirri snapped a lengthy Wolves scoring drought when he delivered on a breakaway to make it 1-1 with 23 seconds left in the second period. Defenseman Jake Bischoff claimed the puck in the defensive slot and whistled a long stretch pass between two Texas defensemen to find Pirri rushing into the offensive zone.
The Wolves produced the game-winner at 2:30 of the third period – three seconds after their power play expired. Center Nicolas Roy spied Schuldt open above the left circle and teed him up for a blistering one-timer. Schuldt’s shot whisked past goaltender Jake Oettinger, whose vision was blocked by 6-foot-2, 230-pound Wolves forward Keegan Kolesar.
Dansk (15-6-2) improved his record to 11-0-2 since the calendar turned to December. Oettinger (9-10-2) posted 21 saves in the loss.
The Wolves play their final game before the AHL All-Star Break at 7 p.m. Saturday against Texas. Chicago returns home on Friday, Jan. 31, to face the Milwaukee Admirals on Craft Beer Night.