Ontario native Josh Leivo scored a power-play goal with 7:13 left to give the Chicago Wolves their first lead in a 4-2 triumph over the Toronto Marlies Saturday afternoon at Coca-Cola Coliseum.
Forwards CJ Smith, Ryan Suzuki and Stefan Noesen also scored for the Wolves (36-10-5-5), who pushed their point streak to 12 games and extended their Central Division lead to 15 points.
Captain Andrew Poturalski handed out three assists to retake the AHL’s scoring lead with 76 points while goaltender Alex Lyon rejected 20 shots to earn the win.
Toronto (27-21-3-1) needed just 32 seconds to open the scoring. Alex Steeves fired from the left corner and the rebound went into the slot for Semyon Der-Arguchintsev to swat home.
The Marlies took a 2-0 lead at 7:29 on Brent Seney’s goal. The Wolves killed off a 5-on-3 power play, but Seney collected a rebound below the goal line and banked a shot off Lyon for a power-play tally.
Chicago launched its comeback immediately as Smith scored a power-play goal at 8:00 set up by several swift passes. Joey Keane, working from the point, fed Poturalski above the left circle. He moved the puck to the goal line for Noesen, who slid a pinpoint pass through the crease to Smith for a quick roofed blast from the bottom of the right circle.
The Wolves pulled even at 15:53 of the first — shortly after their second power play expired. Defenseman Jesper Sellgren’s wrister from the left point went wide and ricocheted into the right corner, where David Gust got it to first. He spied Suzuki going to the far post and sizzled a pass that the London, Ontario, native deftly redirected to make it 2-2.
Chicago outshot Toronto 18-4 in the second period, but the scoreboard didn’t budge.
The Wolves finally took control after earning a 5-on-3 opportunity midway through the third period. After Lyon rejected Joey Anderson’s shorthanded breakaway, Brett Seney slashed Lyon trying to stuff home the rebound. His penalty gave the Wolves 63 seconds of 5-on-3 time.
Chicago won the ensuing faceoff, maintained possession in the offensive zone the whole time and finally took advantage on Leivo’s blast from the high slot with six seconds left on the two-man advantage at 12:47 of the third.
The Marlies pulled their goaltender with 3:19 to go, then a Wolves penalty gave Toronto a 6-on-4 opportunity with 1:39 left. The Marlies kept the puck in the offensive zone until Poturalski blocked a shot and Noesen cleared it with 28 seconds left.
Poturalski collected the puck along the back boards, withstood pressure from multiple Marlies and then dished to Noesen for a shorthanded, empty-net goal with 16 seconds to play. For Noesen, it marked his league-leading 33rd goal.
Lyon improved his record to 15-6-3 while Toronto goaltender Michael Hutchinson (5-5-3) finished with 27 saves.
Chicago stays in Ontario to face the Marlies at 3 p.m. Sunday before returning to Allstate Arena to host the Texas Stars at 7 p.m. Tuesday and the Manitoba Moose at 7 p.m. Sunday. To join the fun on Tuesday’s Craft Beer Night or Friday’s $2 Beer Night, email a team representative at [email protected].