ROSEMONT, Ill.—The Chicago Wolves wrapped up their 2022-23 regular-season slate by defeating the Manitoba Moose 5-4 in overtime Sunday at Allstate Arena.
The victory kept the defending Calder Cup champion Wolves alive in the hunt for a spot in the Central Division playoffs.
Vasily Ponomarev scored the winner in overtime while Mackenzie MacEachern, Ville Koivunen, Griffin Mendel and Zach Senyshyn each scored in regulation as Chicago rallied to its third consecutive victory and finished the regular season with a record of 35-29-5-3.
“There’s definitely a ton of character in our room,” said Senyshyn, who scored the tying goal with 2 minutes, 21 seconds remaining in the third period. “It’s kind of the way this year went, we showed a lot of battle and a lot of grit.”
Max Lajoie chipped in with three assists before the Wolves had to wait for the result of games involving Rockford and Iowa later Sunday to determine their postseason fate.
Manitoba jumped on the Wolves early when Wyatt Bongiovanni scored 1 minute 54 seconds into the opening period and Jansen Harkins followed soon after with a goal of his own.
The Wolves turned the tide late in the first on a highlight-reel score from Koivunen. The 19-year from Finland notched his first goal since joining the Wolves on March 24 following a loan to Karpat of the Finnish league Liiga. Koivunen completed a pretty passing play from Nathan Sucese to Anttoni Honka and back to Koivunen who then fired the puck past Manitoba goaltender Arvid Holm.
Mendel’s ninth goal of the season evened the score at 2-2 late in the second. Teammate Joseph LaBate won a faceoff in the offensive zone and sent the puck to Mendel, who ripped a one-timer that bounded into the net.
Manitoba came right back and took a 3-2 lead into the second intermission following a goal by Alex Limoges.
Midway through the third, the Moose increased the lead to 4-2 on Jeff Malott’s goal.
The Wolves continued to battle and pulled to within 4-3 midway through the third while on the power play. MacEachern notched his 11th goal of the season—and seventh with a man advantage—when the veteran forward redirected a shot from the point by Lajoie. In addition to Lajoie, Ryan Suzuki was awarded an assist on the goal.
With the clock winding down on the Wolves’ season, coach Brock Sheahan pulled goaltender Pytor Kochetkov for an extra skater and Senyshyn cashed in with his 10th goal of the season. The winger deflected a pass from Lajoie that eluded Holm and found the back of the net. Ronan Seeley also picked up and assist on the game-tying score.
“It was nice to go out there with the extra attacker,” Senyshyn said. “Max made a great play. He’s not only a terrific captain but a terrific player. He’s got such great vision out there and such great compete. It was really nice play by him.”
Ponomarev tallied the game-winner in overtime when he knocked home a goal from in close off a pass from Lajoie. The goal gave Ponomarev a team-leading 24 on the season.
Kochetkov (20 saves) earned the win in goal for the Wolves while Holm (25 saves) suffered the loss for the Moose.
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