Rookie center Jack Drury and veteran forward Josh Leivo scored two goals apiece as the Chicago Wolves cruised to a 5-1 victory over the Manitoba Moose Saturday afternoon at Canada Life Centre.
Defenseman Cavan Fitzgerald also scored for the Central Division-leading Wolves (30-10-4-3), who expanded their lead over the second-place Moose (26-17-2-1) to 12 points.
Captain Andrew Poturalski, the AHL’s points leader with 66, handed out two assists along with forward David Gust and defensemen Max Lajoie and Josh Jacobs. Goaltender Alex Lyon (14-6-2) rejected 25 shots to earn the win.
Fitzgerald opened the scoring at 12:36 of the first. He claimed a puck at the back boards and slid it to Josh Jacobs, who built some speed and fed Fitzgerald in stride in the neutral zone. He flew to the top of the left circle and blasted a slap shot past Manitoba’s Mikhail Berdin.
The Wolves pumped their lead to 2-0 at 16:41 on Drury’s 11th goal of the year. Gust controlled the puck behind Manitoba’s net and flipped a backhand pass that banked off traffic to Lajoie in the slot. Lajoie spotted Drury wide-open near the right faceoff dot and Drury snapped it home before Berdin could slide to the left post.
Drury delivered again at 3:39 of the second to make it 3-0. David Cotton chipped the puck to the back boards and outbattled a Moose defenseman to claim control. Cotton passed to the right corner for Gust, who spied Drury open in the slot for a quick pull-and-drag to zip it past Berdin.
Manitoba pulled within 3-1 on David Gustafson’s unassisted marker at 4:25, but the Wolves answered on their first power-play chance of the game at 17:03 to restore a 3-goal lead. With three seconds left on a 5-on-3 advantage, Leivo accepted a Lajoie pass below the left circle and threaded his wrister through a tiny opening between Berdin’s right shoulder, the right post and the crossbar.
Leivo wrapped up his second two-goal game of the season at 9:05 of the third. Poturalski fought off a check along the boards to set up Leivo for a breakaway that pushed the lead to 5-1.
Berdin (12-9-0) finished with 19 saves in the loss.
The Wolves face Manitoba again at 2 p.m. Sunday before returning to Allstate Arena for three home games, starting with a 7 p.m. clash on Wednesday, March 2, with the Texas Stars. To set up your Craft Beer Package that features three beers, one T-shirt and one ticket for one low price, click here or email a Wolves representative at [email protected].