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Wolves’ stars spark rally

Chicago 5 | Iowa 3
Noesen raises AHL-leading goal total to 26 with first professional hat trick

AHL goals leader Stefan Noesen produced his first professional hat trick and AHL points leader Andrew Poturalski handed out 3 assists as the Chicago Wolves rallied for a 5-3 victory over the Iowa Wild Saturday night at Allstate Arena.

Defenseman Joey Keene scored the game-winning power-play goal with 12:08 remaining for the Wolves (28-10-4-3), who also got a power-play goal from forward Josh Leivo as they tied their season-high with three power-play tallies.

Wolves 22-year-old goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov, the Carolina Hurricanes’ second-round pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, earned the win with 30 saves in his North American debut.

“I thought in the third period, we used our skating and put them on their heels a little bit,” said Wolves head coach Ryan Warsofsky. “A big goal there by ‘Noes’ to tie and it started with our forecheck. That’s when we’re dangerous — when we can get on forechecks and create some turnovers with our puck pressure, we can create a lot of offense.”

Iowa (20-18-3-3) opened the scoring just 42 seconds into the game as the Wild forced a turnover and Mason Shaw set up Mitchell Chaffee for a blistering wrister in the slot.

The Wolves answered with Leivo’s power-play goal at 5:15 of the first. Keane blocked Iowa’s clearing attempt at the blue line, then dished to Poturalski at the top of the right circle. Poturalski whistled a diagonal pass to the bottom of the left circle to set up Leivo’s one-timer past goaltender Zane McIntyre.

The Wolves solved the AHL’s second-best penalty-kill unit again at 15:23 of the first on Noesen’s 24th goal of the year. Keane collected a Poturalski pass at the point, faked a dish back to the captain and fired a thigh-high shot that Noesen redirected home as McIntyre argued in vain for a high-sticking call.

Iowa responded by earning a power-play tally against the AHL’s fourth-best penalty-kill crew. Adam Beckman knocked home a rebound of a Shaw shot to make it 2-2 at 18:24 of the first.

The Wild regained a 3-2 edge 1:39 into the second period when Kyle Rau somehow turned a bouncing pass from Jon Lizotte into a no-look backhand into the top left corner of the net.

Noesen’s second goal pulled the Wolves even 4:50 into the third. Max Lajoie rimmed the puck down the left wall all the way to the right half-wall for Noesen, who had the puck chopped away to Leivo. His blast from the right circle hit Noesen and dropped to his feet for a quick backhand.

The Wolves rode that momentum for Keane’s go-ahead power-play goal at 7:52. Poturalski, working along the right wall, fed Jack Drury below the goal line, collected a return pass and set up Keane for a scorched one-timer from the top of the right circle for a 4-3 lead.

The 29-year-old Noesen secured the first hat trick of his eight-year pro career by steering home a shot from center ice into the empty net with 45 seconds to go. The Plano, Texas, native leads the AHL with 26 goals in 40 games.

McIntyre (9-5-1) finished with 35 saves in the loss.

The Wolves cap their four-game homestand with a 3 p.m. Sunday clash versus Iowa on Pride Day and Papa Johns Family Sunday. To get the best ticket deals, contact a team representative at [email protected].