Jordan Gross and Markus Hannikainen converted in the shootout to lift the Pacific Division-leading Tucson Roadrunners to a 3-2 victory over the Chicago Wolves Saturday night at Allstate Arena.
Forwards Gage Quinney and Curtis McKenzie scored in the first period for the Wolves (26-26-5-3), who killed off 3 minutes, 24 seconds’ worth of power plays at the end of regulation to assure themselves of one point.
“I thought we were frustrating them the first two (periods) because they are a very high-powered offensive team,” said Wolves head coach Rocky Thompson. “We were undisciplined tonight, which to me is unacceptable. Four high-sticking penalties is crazy.”
The Wolves broke on top at 10:16 of the first on Quinney’s 17th goal of the season. Defenseman Jaycob Megna slalomed toward the slot and tried a backhand that a Tucson defenseman blocked. While he tried in vain to find the puck, Quinney found it and chipped a backhand past goaltender Adin Hill’s stick.
McKenzie gave the Wolves a 2-0 lead at the 12:01 mark. Ben Jones claimed the puck in the corner and dished to Keegan Kolesar in the right faceoff circle. He sauced a short pass to McKenzie flashing in front of the crease. McKenzie tripped over Hill’s stick and fell to the ice, but not before extending his stick and sweeping the puck under Hill’s outstretched arm.
Tucson (35-18-1-2) launched its comeback at 1:36 of the third. Wolves goaltender Oscar Dansk rejected Kyle Capobianco’s shot from the left point and Beau Bennett’s rebound attempt, but Markus Hannikainen knocked home the next rebound to cut Chicago’s lead to 2-1.
The Roadrunners forged a 2-2 tie just 11 seconds into a power play. Michael Chaput delivered a pass from below the goal line to Michael Bunting above the right circle and Bunting slung a wrister top-shelf at 8:41 of the third.
Hill (14-4-0) finished with 14 saves in regulation and overtime and stopped two of three shootout attempts. Dansk (18-12-4) posted 29 saves in regulation and overtime.
The Wolves host the Rockford IceHogs at 3 p.m. Sunday in an Illinois Lottery Cup clash. As part of Little Debbie Sunday, the first 1,000 kids will receive a free admission ticket to Santa’s Azoosment Village and Waterpark.