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Wolves Tip Griffins 5-4 in OT

February 24, 2023

The Chicago Wolves opened a set of three games in three days with a thrilling 5-4 victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins in overtime Friday night in Michigan.

Anttoni Honka notched the game-winner in OT, Max Lajoie scored twice and Jack Drury and Griffin Mendel had goals to lead the Wolves to their sixth win in their last eight games. Ronan Seeley and Ryan Suzuki each added two assists for the Wolves, who will host the Tucson Roadrunners at Allstate Arena on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

On Friday, the Wolves controlled the play throughout the opening period and held a 14-7 shot advantage but when the dust settled, the Griffins held a 2-0 lead on goals by Alex Chiasson and Joel L’Esperance.

Early in the second, the Wolves exploded for three goals in a span of 1 minute, 8 seconds to seize the lead.

First, Lajoie cruised through the slot and redirected a shot by Nathan Sucese past Grand Rapids goaltender Victor Brattstrom. Sucese and Logan Lambdin each recorded assists on Lajoie’s sixth goal of the season.

The Wolves struck again :35 seconds later when Drury ripped a wrist shot from the top of the left circle that sailed by Brattstrom to the glove side to tie the game at 2-2. Josh Melnick picked up an assist on Drury’s seventh goal of the season.

Mendel’s fifth goal of the season just :33 later put the Wolves in front. The defenseman carried the puck from deep in his own end, stickhandled through traffic into the offensive zone and unleashed a shot from the top of the left circle that solved Brattstrom to the stick side. Seeley and Vasily Ponomarev were awarded assists.

The Griffins knotted the score at 3-3 when Danny O’Regan scored with less than a second remaining in the second.

Lajoie’s second goal of the game put the Wolves in front early in the third. The captain’s long shot found the back of the net thanks to a screen in front by teammate Joseph LaBate. Seeley and Suzuki picked up assists.

Grand Rapids answered again on a goal by Dominik Shine to even the score at 4-4 and that’s the way it stood when regulation ended.

After killing a penalty early in overtime, the Wolves got the extra point when Honka weaved his way into the Griffins zone and wired a wrister past Brattstrom. The goal was Honka’s fourth of the season and was assisted by Suzuki and Mackenzie MacEachern. The two helpers extended Suzuki’s points streak to seven games (two goals, eight assists).

Pyotr Kochetkov (19 saves) recorded the win in goal for the Wolves while Brattstrom (38 saves) suffered the loss for the Griffins.

The Wolves improved to 21-23-3-2 while Grand Rapids fell to 21-25-2-2.

Up next: The Wolves will host the Tucson Roadrunners on Saturday (7 p.m.; My50 Chicago, AHLTV). It will be Faith and Fellowship 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.