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Wolves battle into overtime

Iowa 3 | Chicago 2
Stefan Noesen and David Gust score in final six minutes to force OT

The Chicago Wolves scored twice late in the third period to force overtime, but six-time NHL All-Star Game skater Eric Staal gave the Iowa Wild a 3-2 victory Saturday night at Wells Fargo Arena.

Forwards Stefan Noesen and David Gust scored for the Wolves (23-6-1-2), who continue to lead the Western Conference.

Iowa (14-13-2-2) opened the scoring at 8:43 of the second period on a pinpoint connection between Nick Swaney and Kyle Rau. Swaney sidestepped a Wolves defenseman at the blue line, drove to the right circle and then fired a pass to the back door for a flying Rau to redirect home.

The Wolves pulled even on Noesen’s rebound goal with 5:28 left in regulation. Defensemen Max Lajoie extended a lengthy possession in the offensive zone by rimming a pass to the back boards for Noesen, who skated behind the net to the far post and stuffed the puck past goaltender Hunter Jones to make it 1-1.

Just 86 seconds later, Gust gave the Wolves a 2-1 lead after another lengthy possession. Maxim Letunov dug the puck free in the corner and Gust whistled it home from a sharp angle by the right wall at 15:58 of the third.

Iowa responded with Marco Rossi’s goal at 16:29 to make it 2-2. In the extra session, Jones made a highlight-reel save on Noesen that triggered a 2-on-1 rush for Iowa. Staal never gave up possession and snapped a shot home at 1:16 of overtime. The 37-year-old Staal has scored two goals in two games since signing a professional tryout contract in hopes of making Team Canada’s Olympics roster.

Jones (2-2-1) made 27 saves to pick up the win while Lyon (9-2-2) stopped 26 shots.

The Wolves continue their five-game road trip with a 1 p.m. matinee Monday at Rockford. After this trip concludes, Chicago returns to Allstate Arena on Jan. 26, 28 and 29 for three big home games. To find the best deals on tickets, email a Wolves representative at [email protected].