MILWAUKEE—The Chicago Wolves erupted for four goals in the second period – two of them from Vasily Ponomarev – and went on to defeat the Admirals 4-3 on Tuesday night in Milwaukee.
Josh Melnick and William Lagesson each added goals as the Wolves won for the fourth time in their last six games. Nathan Sucese and Malte Stromwall each chipped in with two assists as the defending Calder Cup champion Wolves were victorious in the 300th all-time regular-season meeting between the Central Division rivals.
“We’re starting to understand how we need to play,” Wolves coach Brock Sheahan said. “We’re doing it more often. I wouldn’t say it’s all the time yet but we’re getting close. It’s good to see us execute at that level.”
Milwaukee opened the scoring when Jimmy Huntington struck with one second remaining in the first period.
It didn’t take long for the Wolves to tie it at 1-1 as Melnick notched his sixth goal of the season :08 into the second period. The center took a nifty backhanded pass from behind the goal from Stromwall and fired a one-timer from the slot that beat Admirals goaltender Yaroslav Askarov to the stick side.
Lagesson’s backhander from in close gave the Wolves a 2-1 advantage a short time later. Noel Gunler earned an assist to extend his points streak to five games and Stromwall recorded his second helper of the contest.
The Wolves increased the lead to two on Ponomarev’s team-leading eighth goal of the season. The center won a draw in the offensive zone and soon pounced on a loose puck before firing a backhander past the glove of Askarov. Sucese and Stelio Mattheos assisted on Ponomarev’s score.
Milwaukee answered right back on Kiefer Sherwood’s goal that cut the Wolves’ lead to 3-2.
Late in the second, Ponomarev restored the Wolves’ two-goal advantage when the Russian used a burst of speed to wheel around the Admirals goal, won a race to the post with Askarov and tucked in a wraparound. Sucese picked up his second assist on the play.
Tim Schaller’s early third-period goal pulled the Admirals to within 4-3 but Wolves goaltender Zachary Sawchenko blanked Milwaukee the rest of the way.
“I feel like we’re more connected than we’ve been,” Sheahan said. “There’s a lot of hockey left and we need to keep getting better.”
Sawchenko (29 saves) earned the victory for the Wolves while Askarov (20 saves) suffered the loss for the Admirals.
The Wolves improved to 10-14-3-0 on the season while Milwaukee fell to 16-10-0-2.
Up next: The Wolves will host the Rockford IceHogs on Friday at Allstate Arena (7 p.m.; My50 Chicago, AHLTV).
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.