The Chicago Wolves’ special teams produced a power-play goal and a shorthanded goal in the second period to secure a landmark 4-2 victory over the Milwaukee Admirals Saturday night at Allstate Arena.
Forwards David Gust, Jamieson Rees, David Cotton and Spencer Smallman scored for the Central Division-leading Wolves (20-4-1-1), who tied a 22-year-old team record by claiming their 12th consecutive victory. John Anderson’s 1999-2000 squad won 12 in a row on the way to the 2000 Turner Cup championship.
Goaltender Alex Lyon (9-1-1), who ranks third in the AHL with his 1.79 goals-against average, earned his sixth straight win as he rejected 29 of 31 shots against a Milwaukee lineup fortified by three forwards who helped the Nashville Predators defeat the Chicago Blackhawks Friday night.
Meanwhile, the Wolves extended their streak even though their top five scorers were busy helping the Carolina Hurricanes defeat the Los Angeles Kings.
“I think if you work the way we work, you give yourself a chance every night,” said Wolves head coach Ryan Warsofsky. “We’ve seen that. The last three (days) in a row, our effort has been outstanding from start to finish. We just play. We just keep playing.”
Gust opened the scoring at 16:19 of the first. Rees powered his way down the right wing, but Milwaukee broke it up before he could reach the net. The Admirals couldn’t connect on a short breakout pass deep in their own zone, so Gust pounced on the bouncing puck in the left circle and snapped it past Connor Ingram for the Orland Park native’s 50th career AHL goal.
Milwaukee (10-13-2-0) knotted the game at 11:42 of the second when defenseman Jeremy Davies, who suited up for the Wolves last season, whistled a wrister from the right point that snuck through traffic for a power-play goal.
Chicago answered with a power-play goal of its own at 14:03. After accepting a pass from Rees at the right faceoff dot, defenseman Artyom Serikov tried to feed a pass across the slot to Sam Miletic. A Milwaukee defender blocked the puck right back to Serikov, so he flipped a shot that tipped off Rees’ boot as he jumped trying to avoid the puck.
The Wolves pushed their lead to 3-1 on Cotton’s shorthanded goal with 2:39 left in the second. Spencer Smallman’s pass from the defensive zone led Cotton past two defenders and he capped his breakaway with a backhand flick over Ingram.
Milwaukee pulled within 3-2 with 2:32 to play when Graham Knott tipped in a Rocco Grimaldi blast when the Admirals pulled the goalie to get a 6-on-4 advantage.
But the Wolves made the Admirals pay for the empty net when Smallman buried a shot with 1:54 left. Ingram (8-8-2) posted 29 saves in the loss.
The Wolves will shoot for sole possession of the franchise record when they head to Cleveland for a 6 p.m. game Wednesday. They return to Allstate Arena on Saturday, Jan. 1, to face the Rockford IceHogs in the Chicago New Year’s Classic, presented by Planet Fitness. To find the best ticket deals, contact a Wolves representative here or call 1-800-THE-WOLVES.