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Wolves rocket to victory

Grand Rapids 1 | Chicago 5
Richard and Novak produce two goals apiece as Chicago leads throughout

Anthony Richard and Tommy Novak scored two goals apiece as the Chicago Wolves sprinted to an early lead and rolled to a 5-1 victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins on Monday night at Van Andel Arena.

Rookie forward Phil Tomasino also produced a goal for the Wolves (16-5-1-2), who enjoyed their biggest victory margin since knocking off the Iowa Wild 6-2 on March 14.

Defenseman Max Lajoie and Joey Keane added two assists apiece while Antoine Bibeau (4-1-1) stopped 23 shots to earn the win in goal.

The Wolves jumped on top to stay just 2:05 into the game. Forward Sheldon Rempal collected a loose puck behind the net, curled out to the left faceoff dot and spied Tomasino breaking free near the slot. Rempal delivered the saucer pass and Tomasino wristed it home as the Wolves scored first for the first time in 10 games.

The Wolves earned a 5-on-3 power play late in the first period and made the most of it with goals 55 seconds apart to forge a 3-0 lead at the 18:17 mark.

On the two-man advantage, the Wolves worked the puck around the perimeter until Tomasino noticed Novak sneaking behind a defenseman near the crease. Novak took the diagonal pass and immediately flipped it top-shelf at 17:22.

The Griffins (11-7-3-0) added one man from the penalty box, but the Wolves stayed on the attack and added another goal. Defenseman Joey Keane fed Richard near the left point and Richard stepped into a snapper that sizzled through traffic and pieced the top corner for a 3-0 lead.

The Wolves earned another 5-on-3 opportunity midway through the second period and Richard cashed in again — accepting a Max Lajoie pass near the goal line and rifling it home from a sharp angle for a 4-0 lead at 10:24.

Grand Rapids defenseman Dylan McIlrath cut the margin to 4-1 late in the second, but the Wolves regained momentum 13 seconds into the third period when Novak fended off three Griffins defenders while spinning through the slot. Once he stopped turning, Novak wristed a shot into the top corner to put the margin to 5-1.

Goaltender Kaden Fulcher (1-1-1), loaned from the Detroit Red Wings to the Griffins earlier in the day, finished with 24 saves.

The Wolves wrap up their eight-game road trip with a 6 p.m. game Thursday at Grand Rapids, then play their first game at the Wolves Training Facility since April 3 when they host the Iowa Wild at 7 p.m. Friday.