ROSEMONT, Ill.—The Chicago Wolves wrapped up a busy stretch of three games in three days with a Sunday matinee against the Manitoba Moose at Allstate Arena.
Cole Maier scored the winner in the shootout to lift the Moose to a 4-3 victory, their second over the Wolves in two days. Josh Melnick, Vasily Ponomarev and Zach Senyshyn each scored to help the defending Calder Cup champion Wolves earn a point, but they were defeated for just the seventh time in their last 18 games.
“It’s always a good thing to get a point but at this time of year we’re making a push and that second point would have been big for us,” Melnick said. “It’s definitely a little disappointing but we’ve been playing pretty good hockey the past couple of weeks and we know if we play the right way we can play with pretty much anyone in the league.”
After a scoreless opening period, the Moose broke through in the second on a goal by Dominic Toninato to take a 1-0 lead.
The Wolves evened the score a short time later when Melnick scored his 14th goal of the season. The forward redirected a shot from Alex Green from the point that eluded Manitoba goaltender Oskari Salminen. Green and Jake Dugan were awarded assists on Melnick’s second goal in two games.
“The puck squirted to Green up top and he just put it in a great spot for me to get a stick on it,” Melnick said. “I think everyone goes through ebbs and flows throughout the season but I’m playing well right now and I’m just trying to keep that up.”
A goal by Tyler Boland later in the second put the Moose in front 2-1 entering the second intermission.
The Wolves began the third shorthanded but that didn’t stop them from tying things up when Ponomarev notched his team-leading 18th goal of the season. The forward stole the puck from a Moose player near center ice, broke in alone on Salminen and shoveled a backhander past the netminder to the glove side. The score marked the Wolves’ ninth while shorthanded this season.
Senyshyn’s goal late in the third gave the Wolves the lead. Seconds after goalie Zachary Sawchenko made a terrific save on Boland, the Wolves raced into the offensive zone and Griffin Mendel unleashed a shot from the point that Senyshyn tipped past Salminen for his ninth goal of the season. In addition to Mendel’s assist, Green recorded his second of the game.
With Salminen on the bench for an extra attacker, Manitoba pulled even at 3-3 on a goal by Jansen Harkins to send it to overtime and eventually a shootout.
Maier, the third Manitoba shooter in the shootout, solved Sawchenko to give the Moose the victory.
Sawchenko (32 saves) suffered the loss in goal for the Wolves while Salminen (34 saves) earned the win for the Moose.
The Wolves dropped to 26-27-3-3 on the season and Manitoba improved to 33-19-5-3.
Up next: The Wolves face the Griffins in Grand Rapids 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.