ROSEMONT, Ill.—The Chicago Wolves opened the 2023 portion of their schedule with a 5-2 victory over the Iowa Wild on Tuesday night at Allstate Arena.
Josh Melnick had a goal and an assist while Alexander Pashin, Ryan Suzuki, Noel Gunler and Brendan Perlini also scored to help the defending Calder Cup champion Wolves snap a two-game losing skid.
“Right from the start we were skating and getting pucks deep and we had a lot of energy that we kept going through the whole game,” Wolves captain Max Lajoie said. “We have struggled a little bit to do that in the past few games so it was nice to see (Tuesday night).”
Pashin’s fourth goal of the season put the Wolves out in front early in the opening period. The winger picked the pocket of Wild defenseman Daemon Hunt deep in the offensive zone, spun and ripped a shot from behind the goal line that found its way past Iowa goaltender Zane McIntyre to the blocker side.
The Wolves extended the lead a short time later on Suzuki’s third goal of the season. The center pounced on a rebound of an Alex Green shot and chipped it into the net. Malte Stromwall also had an assist to up his team-leading total to 16 on the season. For Stromwall, it was his 14th point (four goals, 10 assists) in his last 10 games.
Early in the second, the Wild trimmed the Wolves’ lead in half on Marco Rossi’s score.
“When they scored that goal to make it a one-goal game we stayed positive and stuck to our game plan,” Lajoie said. “It works, so we just have to keep doing that.”
Later in the period, the Wolves cashed in on the first power-play opportunity of the game with Gunler’s seventh goal of the season. The winger batted in a rebound of a Max Lajoie shot following a scramble in front. William Lagesson also picked up an assist on the goal. It marked the fourth consecutive game the Wolves have scored with a man advantage.
Perlini wasted no time in the third to give the Wolves a 4-1 advantage, scoring seven seconds into the frame. The winger, fresh off his return from Davos, Switzerland, where he was playing for Team Canada in the Spengler Cup, took a pass from Gunler and wired a wrist shot from the high slot past McIntyre.
The goal equaled a Wolves franchise record for fastest to open a period, matching Steve Maltais against Utah on Oct. 6, 2001.
Sammy Walker scored on the Wild’s first power play of the game to make it 4-2 midway through the third.
Melnick capped the scoring with an empty-net tally for his eighth goal of the season. Lagesson earned his second assist of the game while Jack Drury added one.
Zachary Sawchenko (27 saves) earned the win in goal for the Wolves while McIntyre (22 saves) suffered the loss for the Wild.
The Wolves improved to 11-15-3-1 on the season while Iowa fell to 13-14-2-2.
Up next: The Wolves will host the Cleveland Monsters on Friday at Allstate Arena (7 p.m.; My50 Chicago, AHLTV). It will be $3 Beer Night and the Wolves will also continue to spotlight Mental Health Awareness.
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.