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Letunov, Wolves tame Wild

Iowa 2 | Chicago 5
Wolves drop magic number to 2 as Letunov leads charge with two third-period goals

Maxim Letunov scored two goals in a four-minute span of the third period to guide the Chicago Wolves to a 5-2 victory over the Iowa Wild Sunday afternoon at Wells Fargo Arena.

Forwards Andrew Poturalski, Jamieson Rees and Jack Drury also scored while Pyotr Kochetkov stopped 25 shots for the Wolves (39-11-5-5), whose magic number to clinch a Calder Cup Playoff spot dropped to 2. Chicago can wrap up its 21st postseason berth Tuesday night at Cleveland.

For the second game in a row, Poturalski set the tone by delivering a first-period power-play goal from the left faceoff circle. After trading passes with defenseman Joey Keane, Josh Leivo skated toward the right faceoff dot and zipped a pass across the slot to Poturalski for a blistering one-timer from the left dot for his 24th goal of the year and a 1-0 lead at 14:45 of the first.

Thanks to a sparkling move in the slot, Rees scored for the second game in a row and gave the Wolves a 2-0 lead at 5:48 of the second. Defenseman Daniel Brickley collected a puck in the defensive zone and flicked it ahead to Rees along the left wall at the red line. Rees slalomed into the middle of the offensive zone, made an Iowa defenseman spin around while switching the puck from his backhand to his forehand and chipped his shot top-shelf.

Iowa (24-26-4-4) pulled within 2-1 on Adam Chaffee’s blistering one-timer immediately after Dominic Turgeon won a faceoff at 6:29 of the second.

The Wolves earned a valuable insurance goal at 12:06 of the third on Letunov’s power-play tally. After extended time in the offensive zone, defenseman Jesper Sellgren whistled a shot from the point that Letunov tipped past goaltender Derek Baribeau for a 3-1 lead.

Chicago needed Letunov’s score because Iowa’s Chaffee responded with his own power-play goal at 14:13 to cut the margin to 3-2.

Letunov wrapped up his first two-goal performance since April 14, 2021, when he pounced on Keane’s point shot into heavy traffic in the slot and whipped it past Baribeau to make it 4-2 with 3:42 left in regulation.

Jack Drury added an empty-net goal from 180 feet away with 1:01 to go. Kochetkov (7-0-1) picked up his second assist in his eighth North American professional game.

Baribeau (4-8-2) rejected 33 of 37 shots for the Wild.

The Wolves continue their three-game road trip with a 6 p.m. game Tuesday at Cleveland. Chicago returns to Allstate Arena at 7 p.m. Saturday to face the Milwaukee Admirals on Salute to Military Families Night and 3 p.m. Sunday to play the Texas Stars on Papa Johns Family Sunday. To find the best deals on tickets, contact a Wolves representative at [email protected].