The Chicago Wolves concluded their four-game road trip by defeating the Grand Rapids Griffins 3-2 in a shootout Wednesday night in Michigan.
Malte Stromwall scored the winner in the shootout and Joseph LaBate and Tuukka Tieksola had goals in regulation as the Wolves won their second in a row and finished the trip with a 2-1-1-0 record.
Chicago gained a valuable two points to pull within six of Rockford for the fifth and final Central Division postseason spot.
Wednesday’s contest was scoreless deep into the opening period when LaBate found the back of the net with one minute remaining. Camped in front of the net, the forward redirected a point shot from Griffin Mendel past Griffins goaltender John Lethemon to put the Wolves out in front. Mendel and Anttoni Honka were awarded assists on LaBate’s eighth goal of the season.
Tieksola gave the Wolves a 2-0 lead midway through the second when he scooped up a loose puck at the blue line, skated in alone on Lethemon and beat the goalie with a forehand shot to the glove side. The unassisted goal was Tieksola’s seventh of the season and third in three games since returning from Liiga of the Finnish League.
Later in the period, the Griffins evened the score at 2-2 on goals by Joel L’Esperance and Dominik Shine just :51 apart.
After a scoreless third, the game went into overtime and eventually a shootout. The Wolves picked up the extra point when Tieksola and Stromwall scored against Lethemon.
Zachary Sawchenko made 28 saves over regulation and overtime – and two more in the shootout – to earn the win for the Wolves while Lethemon (29 saves) suffered the loss for the Griffins.
The Wolves upped their record to 28-28-4-3 on the season and Grand Rapids dropped to 27-30-4-4.
Up next: The Wolves host the Rockford IceHogs on Saturday 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.