After having Josh Leivo’s game-winning goal in overtime overturned, the Chicago Wolves went to the shootout and wound up on the short end of a 4-3 verdict to the Manitoba Moose Sunday afternoon at Canada Life Centre.
Forwards CJ Smith and Maxim Letunov and defenseman Josh Jacobs scored for the Wolves (30-10-4-4), who earned 3 of a possible 4 points during their weekend trip to Winnipeg. Chicago holds an 11-point lead over Manitoba (27-17-2-1) in the Central Division chase.
The Wolves drew a power play just 15 seconds into the game and Smith took advantage at 1:23 with his 16th goal of the year. David Gust zipped down the right wing, spied Smith open just above the crease and set him up for a quick chip over Philippe Desrosiers’ blocker.
Manitoba answered just 27 seconds later as the Moose turned a 2-on-0 breakaway into a Greg Meireles one-timer to make it 1-1 at 1:50.
The Wolves’ second power-play unit came through again on the game’s second power play to take a 2-1 lead at 9:42. Smith wristed a shot from the top of the right circle that Desrosiers blocked, but Letunov was right on the doorstep to knock home the rebound.
Chicago pushed its lead to 3-1 on Jacobs’ blast from the point that ticked off Desrosiers’ glove at 10:49 of the first. Jack Drury set up Jacobs’ one-timer for his third goal of the year. With the Wolves owning three goals on five shots, Manitoba removed Desrosiers in favor of rookie Arvid Holm.
The Moose pulled even during the second period as Bobby Lynch sent a wrister through traffic at 5:18 and Evan Polei knocked one home from the slot at 18:12.
The officials initially ruled Leivo scored 38 seconds into overtime. Then they gathered and determined when defenseman Ville Heinola knocked Andrew Poturalski into the net, Poturalski infringed on Holm’s ability to stop Leivo’s rebound from short range.
Poturalski scored for the Wolves in the second round of the shootout to force extra rounds, but Manitoba’s Jeff Malott tallied in the fourth to give the Moose the extra point.
Wolves goaltender Jack LaFontaine (1-0-4) posted a career-high 31 saves while Holm (9-6-1) stopped all 24 shots he faced during regulation and overtime as well as 3 of 4 in the shootout.
The Wolves return to Allstate Arena for three home games this week. They host the Texas Stars at 7 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday, then welcome the Iowa Wild at 3 p.m. Sunday. The first 2,500 fans Saturday receive a Wolves Snow Globe, courtesy of Jewel-Osco. To get the best ticket specials, email a team representative at WolvesTix@ChicagoWolves.com.