ROSEMONT, Ill.—The Chicago Wolves wrapped up a stretch of three games in three days with a 2-1 victory over the Tucson Roadrunners on Sunday at Allstate Arena.
Zach Senyshyn and Mackenzie MacEachern scored and Pyotr Kochetkov was strong in net for the defending Calder Cup champion Wolves.
Chicago won two of the three games over the weekend and secured its first win over Tucson in four tries this season.
Kochetkov was sharp from the beginning, stopping Tucson’s Ben McCartney on a breakaway attempt in the opening stages of the first.
The Wolves killed off an early hooking penalty to Ryan Suzuki and Kochetkov made several saves on a penalty by Alex Green for interference just past the halfway mark of the opening period.
Chicago’s penalty kill finished the game three-for-three while the power play was scoreless in two opportunities.
Newcomer Senyshyn opened the scoring for Chicago with 2 minutes, 36 seconds remaining in the first frame, tipping in a point shot from William Lagesson, who had taken a pass from Nathan Sucese along the wall.
The Wolves competed hard to the buzzer and took a 1-0 advantage to the first intermission. Kochetkov finished with 11 saves in the first.
The Wolves began the second on the power play after Devante Stephens took a cross-checking penalty on Josh Melnick late in the first for their first man-advantage opportunity of the afternoon.
MacEachern doubled the Wolves’ lead 3:55 into the second period with his third goal of the season. The veteran forward carried the puck over the blue line, dropped it for Ponomarev, then drove to the front of the net. Ponomarev zipped a cross-ice pass to captain Max Lajoie at the top of the circle and Lajoie sent it over to MacEachern, who deftly tipped the puck over Parks’ shoulder to make it a 2-0 advantage for Chicago.
Lajoie’s assist was his 16th point in his last 13 games, giving him 30 in 48 contests to lead Wolves defensemen, and placing him 14th among all AHL rearguards.
“I think not much,” Lajoie said about what has been different for him during his hot stretch, “Just getting those bounces and those shots to the net are getting tipped by guys. Good plays by everyone.
“It’s been nice,” Lajoie added. “February has been a really good month for us. We just hope we can keep that up.”
Ponomarev now has seven multi-point games for the Wolves in 2022-23 and finished as the game’s Second Star (Kochetkov was No. 1 Star).
“He’s a really good player,” Lajoie said of Ponomarev. “He has a lot of skill and he sees the ice well. He is a big forward for us and had a really good month, just like the team.”
Bokondji Imama cut the Wolves’ lead in half at the 12:35 mark of the second period, beating Kochetkov with a clean shot off a Wolves turnover.
The score remained the same through the third, with MacEachern’s goal standing as his ninth career AHL game-winning goal, including his sixth with the Wolves.
When asked about the message for the rest of the season, Lajoie said, “Just consistency. When we stick to our system, we’re a really good team. That’s the key to it. When we go away from it, that’s when we get into trouble.”
The Wolves earned their 22nd win of the season to improve to 22-24-3-2 on the season and Kochetkov finished the game with 28 stops to earn his 11th triumph. Parks made 21 saves in the loss for the Roadrunners (24-26-4-0).
Up next: The Wolves will visit the Griffins on Wednesday (6 p.m.; 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.