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Wolves skate to eighth straight

Texas 3 | Chicago 4
Texas native Stefan Noesen delivers the game-winner in overtime

Andrew Poturalski set up Texas native Stefan Noesen for the game-winner 3:20 into overtime to give the Chicago Wolves their eighth win in a row — a 4-3 decision over the Texas Stars Saturday night at H-E-B Center.

Poturalski, Noesen and C.J. Smith scored in regulation for the Wolves (16-4-1-1), who never trailed as they extended the American Hockey League’s longest winning streak and maintained their spot atop the Central Division.

Poturalski, the Wolves captain, maintained his spot atop the AHL’s scoring charts as he racked up one goal and three assists to push his season total to 32 points (11 goals, 21 assists) in 22 games. He stands seven points ahead of Smith and Stockton’s Jakob Pelletier.

The Wolves grabbed the lead 5:21 into the night on Poturalski’s league-high-tying fifth power-play goal. Josh Leivo controlled the puck along the left half-wall, spied Poturalski at the top of the right circle and fed a pass that let him step into a snapper that beat goaltender Adam Scheel.

Texas (7-9-3-1) pulled even on Ty Dellandrea’s goal at 16:08. Josh Melnick worked his way into a 2-on-1 situation close to the net. Melnick flung a quick shot that goaltender Alex Lyon parried, but Dellandrea knocked home the rebound to end Lyon’s scoreless streak at 175 minutes and 57 seconds. That marks the second-longest streak in the Wolves’ 28-season history — trailing only Elmhurst native Garret Sparks’ 191-minute, 14-second run during the 2019-20 season.

The Wolves took a 2-1 lead at 5:12 of the second on Noesen’s seventh of the year. Poturalski swiped a puck on the forecheck and skated behind the net in search of teammates. He sent a short pass to defenseman Jesper Sellgren, who noticed Noesen coming down the slot and fed him for a backhand one-timer.

Texas answered exactly three minutes later as Anthony Louis threaded a pass to Riley Damiani, who was uncovered at the back post and made it 2-2 at 8:12 of the second.

Smith and Poturalski teamed up to give the Wolves a 3-2 edge with nine minutes remaining in regulation. After Poturalski forced a turnover near the blue line, Smith reached the loose puck in the slot and tapped to Poturalski for a 2-on-1 bearing down on the net. Poturalski flicked a short pass toward the left edge of the crease for Smith to lift it over the prone Scheel.

Texas again forged a tie as former Wolves alternate captain Curtis McKenzie, playing his 500th pro game, tapped home a Dellandrea pass for a power-play goal with 2:26 to play.

The Wolves earned the game-winner when Poturalski collected the puck along the left half-wall, headed toward the net and threaded a backhand pass between a defenseman’s legs through the crease to Noesen, who slapped a one-timer past Scheel.

Chicago outshot Texas 33-30 for the night, which gave the Wolves a franchise-record 15th consecutive game outshooting their opponent. Lyon (7-1-1) posted 27 saves to earn his fourth straight win. Scheel (2-2-2) finished with 29 stops.

The Wolves wrap up their five-game road trip against Texas at 5 p.m. Sunday. Chicago returns to Allstate Arena at 11 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 16, to face the Manitoba Moose, then hosts the Milwaukee Admirals at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 18. To find great holiday deals on Wolves tickets and gear, visit ChicagoWolvesStore.com or call 1-800-THE-WOLVES.