Maxim Letunov set up Joey Keane for the game-winner 22 seconds into overtime to give the Chicago Wolves a 3-2 victory over the Cleveland Monsters Tuesday night at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
Forwards David Gust and Stefan Noesen also scored for the Central Division-leading Wolves (27-8-4-2) while rookie goaltender Jack LaFontaine earned his first professional win with 16 saves.
Chicago’s penalty-kill units extended their streak to 34 consecutive kills — including a crucial kill in the final five minutes with the score tied — as the Wolves have not allowed a power-play goal in 761 minutes and 10 seconds.
The Wolves jumped on top at 8:50 of the first on Gust’s 10th goal of the year. Chicago enjoyed an extended offensive possession, then the Monsters couldn’t control the puck when they finally got a stick on it. Gust collected the loose puck high in the left circle and snapped it past goaltender Jean-Francois Berube’s blocker for the 1-0 lead.
The Monsters (13-19-5-3) pulled even on Carson Meyer’s shorthanded goal 13 minutes into the first. Meyer’s first shot was blocked by Keane, but Meyer raced to the carom and his new angle from the right faceoff dot found an open lane to the net.
Chicago took a 2-1 lead at 13:39 of the second after another lengthy assault on Cleveland’s net. After forcing the tired Monsters to take an icing call, Noesen won the ensuing faceoff and captain Andrew Poturalski spun it back to Keane at the blue line. Keane fired from long range and Noesen dropped to his right knee to collect the rebound and backhand it past Berube.
Cleveland forged another tie as Tyler Angle turned a 2-on-2 rush into a 2-2 tie at 5:17 of the third. Angle executed a pull-and-drag to get into the slot, then flicked his shot off the defenseman in front of the crease and it changed direction into the net.
At the outset of overtime, Letunov and Keane raced down the ice with a 2-on-1 advantage. Letunov forced the defenseman to drop to the ice, fed Keane to his left and the Homer Glen native slammed home the one-timer for the win.
LaFontaine (1-0-2), who turned pro on Jan. 9, missed 4:12 of the second period to treat an injury, but he returned to earn the win. Alex Lyon did not face a shot during his brief relief stint.
Berube (4-8-4) rejected 32 of 35 shots, including several acrobatic saves to keep the Wolves at bay.
The Wolves wrap up their four-game trip at 7 p.m. Friday against Rockford, then they host the IceHogs at 7 p.m. Saturday for Star Wars Night. To get the best tickets, including the special Star Wars laser sword package, click here or email a Wolves representative at WolvesTix@ChicagoWolves.com.