The Chicago Wolves seized an early lead, but the league-leading Milwaukee Admirals gradually gained control for a 4-1 victory Friday night at Panther Arena.
Forward Brandon Pirri scored for the Wolves (25-24-3-2), who played with just 17 skaters because center Gage Quinney and defenseman Zach Whitecloud were recalled from loan by the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights 30 minutes before puck drop. Forward Valentin Zykov sat out the game due to illness.
For the second day in a row, Pirri opened the game’s scoring. Defenseman Jaycob Megna swiped the puck at the Wolves blue line and fed it ahead to Pirri, who stayed ahead of two Milwaukee defensemen and flipped a backhand top-shelf to beat goaltender Connor Ingram at 3:32 of the first.
Milwaukee (36-12-4-3) made it 1-1 at 14:34 of the first when defenseman Jeremy Davies wriggled his way into open space and flung a backhand from the right faceoff circle off the post and in.
The Admirals took a 2-1 lead at 7:51 of the second on Daniel Carr’s 20th goal this season. Carr, who won the AHL Most Valuable Player award with the Wolves last year, helped coordinate an odd-man rush and then headed to the crease to knock home a rebound.
Milwaukee posted an insurance goal on the power play with 7:22 left in regulation. After Curtis McKenzie was sent off for holding – a penalty he disagreed with strongly – the Admirals found Rem Pitlick open in the high slot for a quick blast to give the hosts a 3-1 lead.
Head coach Rocky Thompson pulled goaltender Oscar Dansk with just more than four minutes remaining to give the Wolves a 6-on-4 advantage on a power play, but the Admirals killed it off.
Dansk stayed off the ice after the power play and Carr found the empty net with 1:13 to go.
Ingram (18-5-5) posted 27 saves in the win while Dansk (18-10-2) stopped 21 shots.
The Wolves return to Allstate Arena at 3 p.m. Sunday to face the Rockford IceHogs in an Illinois Lottery Cup contest. The first 2,500 fans to arrive for Little Debbie Sunday receive a Wolves Retro Lunchbox courtesy of ABC Plumbing, Sewer, Heating, Cooling and Electric.