Rhett Gardner scored 2:58 into overtime to lift the Texas Stars to a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Wolves Wednesday night at Allstate Arena.
Captain Andrew Poturalski scored his league-leading 20th goal for the Wolves (24-7-4-1), who limited the Stars to 17 shots on goal — just 2 off the franchise record. Chicago maintained the best points percentage in the AHL’s Western Conference and pushed its Central Division lead to 6 points.
“I thought we played well,” said Wolves head coach Ryan Warsofsky. “We had some opportunities. We outshot them heavily…but at the end of the day it’s black and white. You win or you lose and we lost.”
Poturalski delivered the game’s first goal at 13:37 of the first. The Wolves controlled the puck in the offensive zone for an entire power play and scored four seconds after returning to even strength, but before the penalized player could get into the fray. CJ Smith whistled a shot from the left faceoff dot that rebounded to the right faceoff dot for Poturalski, who launched a riser over goaltender Matt Jurusik.
The Wolves held Texas without a shot for more than 16 minutes, but the Stars (11-14-4-2) converted on a rare attempt as they rushed up ice and Gardner found Tye Felhaber on the doorstep for a tap-in and a 1-1 tie at 2:09 of the second.
Midway through overtime, the Stars set up a 3-on-2 opportunity. Ty Dellandrea came down the left side and found Gardner open in the right circle for a one-timer that earned the Stars the extra poin.
Jack LaFontaine (0-0-1), voted the nation’s best collegiate goaltender last year while leading Minnesota to the Big Ten tournament championship, made his AHL debut for the Wolves and stopped 15 of 17 shots.
Jurusik (4-1-1), a native of west suburban LaGrange, posted 36 saves in the win.
The Wolves continue their homestand at 7 p.m. Friday against Grand Rapids and 7 p.m. Saturday versus Rockford. The Wolves are offering two free tickets for either game for all health care workers as the team unveils their exclusive Healthcare Heroes jerseys, presented by Turtle Wax. To request tickets or learn how to bid in the jersey auctions earmarked for local charities, click here or email a Wolves representative at WolvesTix@ChicagoWolves.com.