Stefan Noesen scored his league-leading 30th goal of the season midway through the third period to lift the Chicago Wolves to a 2-1 victory over the Texas Stars Saturday night at Allstate Arena.
Forward David Gust also scored for the Wolves (32-10-4-4) while rookie goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov stopped 30 shots to earn his third win in as many games in North America. The 22-year-old from Penza, Russia, earned multiple ovations for his highlight-reel saves in the last two periods.
“We probably didn’t deserve to win that game, but Pyotr, I think, stole us that hockey game,” said Wolves head coach Ryan Warsofsky. “I guess good teams find ways to win and that’s what we did tonight.”
Texas (18-21-5-5) opened the scoring two seconds after the Wolves finished killing off back-to-back power plays. Ty Dellandrea set up in front of the net and had his stuff attempt rejected by Kochetkov, but Riley Damiani eventually claimed the loose puck and fired it home from close range at 6:42 of the first.
The Wolves kicked up the intensity another notch to start the second period, which led to Gust’s game-tying tally at 2:49. Suzuki intercepted goaltender Matt Jurusik’s clearing attempt along the left half-wall and fired wide. The ricochet went to defenseman Eric Williams at the right point and Jurusik blocked Williams’ wrister, but the rebound flew to the left faceoff dot and the Orland Park product slammed home a one-timer for his 13th goal of the year.
Noesen gave the Wolves the lead for good with his remarkable redirect at 10:01 of the third. Jack Drury raced the puck into the offensive zone and found Spencer Smallman at the right point. Smallman wristed a rising shot that headed wide right of the goal, but Noesen found a way to redirect the puck at a sharp angle past Jurusik for a 2-1 lead.
In scoring his 30th goal in his 45th game of the year, Noesen became the fastest Wolves player to reach the 30-goal mark since Brett Sterling in 2006-07.
“That’s a great play by ‘Nase,’ ” Warsofsky said. “That’s where he’s made his money in his career.”
Texas removed Jurusik with 2:30 remaining to get an extra skater on the ice, but the Stars managed just one shot the rest of the way as the Wolves preserved their fifth victory in their last six games.
Jurusik (7-4-3) posted 20 saves as he lost a duel with Kochetkov for the second time in four days.
The Wolves host the Iowa Wild at 3 p.m. Sunday for Papa Johns Family Sunday. The Wolves will debut their exclusive St. Patrick’s Day jerseys, presented by Jewel-Osco, that are being auctioned and raffled to benefit Easterseals and autism awareness along with Chicago Wolves Charities, driven by Kia. To secure the best ticket deals, click here or email a team representative at [email protected].