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Poturalski’s goal lifts Wolves

Grand Rapids 1 | Chicago 2
The captain produces a highlight-reel tally 31 seconds into OT

Chicago Wolves captain Andrew Poturalski dashed through three defenders and deked the goaltender 31 seconds into overtime to give the Wolves a 2-1 victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins Wednesday morning at Van Andel Arena.

Forward Jamieson Rees also scored for the Wolves (8-3-1-0), who regained sole possession of first place in the American Hockey League’s Central Division. Chicago outshot Grand Rapids 48-27 during the School-Day Game.

Rees put the Wolves on top 52 seconds into the second period with his first goal of the year. Rees’ hit along the half wall helped to force a turnover and sent the puck toward the slot. Jack Drury collected it, drew two defenders and flicked a pass back to Rees for a quick blast that beat goaltender Calvin Pickard.

The Wolves fired the first eight shots of the third period to build a 42-23 shot advantage, but the Griffins (5-5-1-1) made their first shot of the third period count. Defenseman Wyatt Newpower chipped a pass ahead at the blue line to Brett McKenzie, who got a step on the defense and scored at 8:58 of the third to make it 1-1.

At the outset of overtime, Poturalski received a pass from Stefan Noesen in the defensive zone but opted not to press a potential 3-on-2 advantage. The team’s top scorer curled back before launching a 150-foot sprint that bisected two defenders and beat the third to the left before going backhand-forehand to sneak the puck past Pickard.

Alex Lyon (3-1-0) stopped 26 shots to earn the win in his first appearance for the Wolves since leading the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes to victory on Saturday night. Pickard (5-3-0) posted 46 saves, the fourth-largest total in the AHL this season.

Next up for the Wolves is a home-and-home weekend with the Rockford IceHogs. The Wolves travel to Rockford at 7 p.m Friday before hosting the IceHogs at 7 p.m. Saturday on Hockey Night in Chicago. To get the best tickets for the Red Kettle Game presented by the Salvation Army, visit ChicagoWolves.com or call 1-800-THE-WOLVES.