Rookie center Jack Drury produced his first professional hat trick to rally the Chicago Wolves to a 5-3 victory over the Iowa Wild Sunday afternoon at Allstate Arena.
Forwards Ryan Suzuki and Josh Leivo also scored for the Wolves (33-10-4-4), who won for the sixth time in their last seven games and debuted their exclusive St. Patrick’s Day jerseys, presented by Jewel-Osco, that are being auctioned and raffled to benefit Easterseals and autism awareness.
Drury scored twice in a 2-minute, 10-second stretch of the second period to erase Iowa’s 2-0 lead, then he notched his third with 6:31 left in regulation to complete his first hat trick since helping Harvard defeat Yale 7-0 on Jan. 11, 2020, at Madison Square Garden.
“He’s really confident right now,” said Wolves head coach Ryan Warsofsky. “He sets the tone for how we’re playing. He’s huge for the team because he takes the load off (Andrew) Poturalski and gives us another guy up the middle that we can rely on. He’s been really good all year.”
Iowa (22-23-3-3) seized the lead 5:25 into the game when forward Nick Swaney slalomed his way up the right wing and blasted one from above the right circle for his 11th of the year.
Swaney came through again at 2:06 of the second on the power play. From the left point, Joseph Cramarossa spied Swaney heading toward the back door and fired a pinpoint pass that Swaney redirected home for a 2-0 lead.
Drury pulled the Wolves within 2-1 with a power-play goal at 8:39 of the second. Max Lajoie whistled a wrister from the point that flew off the back boards toward the net. Stefan Noesen tied up an Iowa defender while Poturalski claimed possession, went behind the net and set up Drury inches above the goal line. The Winnetka native shoveled it home in one motion from below the left circle to extend his team-high point streak to 11 games.
Drury struck again at 10:49 when the Wolves refused to let the Wild clear the puck out of their zone. Defenseman Jesper Sellgren used his glove to snag a clearing attempt at the blue line, then spun the puck behind the net. Spencer Smallman dug it out of the corner for Noesen along the back boards, then Noesen issued a backhand pass to Drury sneaking into the slot for a one-timer and a 2-2 tie.
Suzuki gave the Wolves their first lead at 15:32 when he rushed into the slot to swat home a rebound. Suzuki won an offensive-zone faceoff and Lajoie carried it down the left wing behind the net and fed Gust just outside the crease. Gust’s poke was blocked by a defenseman, but Suzuki pounced on the puck and produced his second goal in three games.
Chicago gained some breathing room at 4:13 of the third on Leivo’s 11th goal of the season. CJ Smith collected a pass at the defensive blue line and started a rush as he veered down the left wing. Smith fed Poturalski in the middle as they crossed the other blue line, then Poturalski flipped a backhand to Leivo for a quick strike just inside the right circle to make it 4-2.
Drury wrapped up his hatty at 13:29 of the third. Spencer Smallman blocked an Iowa centering pass in the defensive zone and the puck skittered out to center ice. Noesen picked it up in stride down the right wing to trigger a 3-on-1 rush. He spotted Drury hustling down the left wing and set him up in stride for a one-timer from the left circle to make it 5-2.
“Those were incredible passes,” Drury said. “The first one from ‘Potsy’ and two from ‘Nase.’ When you have the empty nets (thanks to the passes), you’ve just got to put it in. Being down 2-0 there, that was a team win and I think it builds a lot of character. We knew what we had to fix after the first period and we knew it was going to come.”
Iowa’s Mitchell Chaffee scored with 1:05 left in regulation to end the Wolves’ five-goal spree.
Wolves goaltender Jack LaFontaine (2-0-4) stopped 25 shots for the win while Iowa’s Hunter Jones (2-6-1) finished with 27 saves.
The Wolves start a two-game road trip Wednesday at Grand Rapids before returning to Allstate Arena to host the Grand Rapids Griffins at 3 p.m. Sunday. To get the best deals on Papa Johns Family Sunday, contact a team representative at [email protected].