On a night when the Chicago Wolves raised the 2022 Calder Cup championship banner to the Allstate Arena rafters, they fell to the Milwaukee Admirals 5-2 before a crowd of 11,415.
In the 29th home opener in franchise history Saturday night, the Wolves staked the Admirals to a 2-0 first-period lead before storming back to tie it but eventually fell.
The Wolves got goals from Vasily Ponomarev and Stelio Mattheos but it wasn’t enough as Milwaukee skated to the victory.
Mark Jankowski and Jimmy Huntington each had a goal and assist while Markus Nurmi, Tim Schaller and Roland McKeown also scored to lift the Admirals.
The game also marked the debut of Brock Sheahan as head coach of the Wolves.
“I felt good out there,” Sheahan said. “Obviously, you just want a better result. But it is a starting point and we’ll get better from here.”
Milwaukee jumped to a two-goal advantage after one period on scores by Jankowski and Nurmi before the Wolves turned the tide early in the second and evened things at 2-2.
Ponomarev wired a shot from the left circle past Admirals goaltender Devin Cooley to trim Milwaukee’s lead in half and a short time later, Mattheos knotted it when he scooped up a loose puck in the slot and fired it home.
With a minute remaining in the second, Schaller was credited with a goal following a net-front scramble for the puck and the Admirals led 3-2.
In the latter stages of the third, the Wolves appeared to tie the game at 3-3 but a Mackenzie MacEachern apparent goal was waved off after it was determined he redirected the puck in with his skate.
Milwaukee then put the game away with goals by McKeown and Huntington in the final moments.
Cooley (27 saves) earned the victory for the Admirals while Pyotr Kochetkov (18 saves) suffered the loss for the Wolves.
The night started with the Wolves raising the franchise’s fifth championship banner with the crowd roaring its approval.
“The atmosphere was amazing,” Sheahan said. “It’s obviously special for the staff and the players that were here last year. It was an amazing accomplishment and to see them get recognized and enjoy it was great.”
Next up: The Wolves will host the Manitoba Moose on Friday, Oct. 21 at Allstate Arena. Chicago will continue to recognize Breast Cancer Awareness and it is also $3 Beer Night.
For information on Wolves ticket plans for the 2022-23 season — everything from single-game tickets to Flex Packs to group outings — visit ChicagoWolves.com or call 1-800-THE-WOLVES.