Despite owning a commanding lead in shots, the Chicago Wolves suffered a 4-3 shootout loss to the Cleveland Monsters on Friday night at the Wolves Training Facility in Hoffman Estates.
Defensemen Max Lajoie and Frederic Allard scored their first goals in a Chicago uniform while rookie center Ryan Suzuki added the equalizer early in the third period for the Wolves (8-1-0-1), who outshot the Monsters 39-24.
“We thought we could play in the offensive zone all night and it was going to be easy,” said Wolves head coach Ryan Warsofsky. “Unfortunately, we’re learning that if we don’t play hard without the puck, if we don’t play hard in our puck battles and our races, if we don’t compete away from the puck, playing in the offensive zone is not going to happen.”
Chicago fired the game’s first 11 shots, but Cleveland converted its first attempt to take a 1-0 lead at 6:38 of the first. Rookie center Tyler Angle used his speed to race between two defenders and slide a shot between goaltender Antoine Bibeau’s feet.
The Wolves waited just 12 seconds to get even as rookie forward Phil Tomasino fed Lajoie zipping down the left wing for a quick flip past Matiss Kivlenieks (2-0-0).
The Monsters (3-3-1-0) regained the lead at 13:55 with Zach Jordan slipped past the Wolves defense, collected a long pass from Gavin Bayreuther and turned his breakaway into a power-play goal. Cleveland pushed its lead to 3-1 when Adam Helewka took advantage of Trey Fix-Wolansky’s rush into the Chicago zone and lifted one over Bibeau at 17:05 of the first.
Allard struck just 19 seconds into the second period to slice the deficit to 3-2. Tomasino shrugged off getting rubbed into the boards, collected a loose puck and moved into to Lajoie so he could set up Allard for the rising wrister.
The Wolves pulled even at 2:43 of the third as David Cotton swooped in and whipped a wrister off Kivlenieks, then Suzuki crashed the crease to swat home the rebound.
Bibeau (20 saves) and Kivlenieks (36 saves) took turns making spectacular saves in overtime, then Cleveland’s Justin Scott opened the shootout with the only tally to give the Monsters the extra point.
The Wolves and Monsters meet again at 3 p.m. Saturday. To get your smiling face inside the Wolves Training Facility, purchase a St. Patrick’s Day-inspired personalized cutout and become a part of the Wolves Fan Gallery, presented by Hefty. To learn more, click here.