Chicago Wolves complete weekend sweep over Grand Rapids Griffins
Poturalski, Leivo and Noesen score while Makiniemi stars in net
Stefan Noesen scored one goal and set up two others to pace the Chicago Wolves to a 3-1 victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins Sunday afternoon at Allstate Arena.
Forwards Andrew Poturalski and Josh Leivo also scored and goaltender Eetu Makiniemi stopped 18 shots for the Wolves (11-4-1-1), who won their third game in as many days to stay ahead of the Iowa Wild for first place in the American Hockey League’s Central Division.
Chicago, which owned a 44-19 shot advantage, improved to 5-0 against Grand Rapids this season.
“I thought we won different ways this weekend,” said Wolves head coach Ryan Warsofsky. “Obviously the big comeback (from a 3-0 third-period deficit) Friday and the comeback last night. Tonight, we managed the game a lot better. That’s how we need to play — with a lead in the third period.”
The Wolves jumped into the lead at 5:41 of the first when the Griffins turned over the puck while trying to bank a pass off the boards behind the net. The puck skittered from Noesen to C.J. Smith at the left faceoff dot and he rifled a quick shot to the top of the crease, where Poturalski was waiting to deflect it past goaltender Calvin Pickard.
Chicago pumped its lead to 2-0 at 3:27 of the second as Leivo capitalized on the team’s first power play of the day. Defenseman Max Lajoie snapped a shot from the point into traffic just outside the crease. Noesen won control and flicked a pass to the doorstep for Leivo, who rammed it past Pickard.
Noesen earned his third point of the night when he finished off an odd-man rush at 15:21 of the second. After Makiniemi stoned a point-blank shot by Kyle Criscuolo, Smith launched a 3-on-2 rush down the left wing. He fed Jesper Sellgren working down the right wing, then Sellgren led Noesen with a perfect pass just above the crease that Noesen redirected home for a 3-0 lead.
The Griffins (7-7-2-1) ended Makiniemi’s bid for his second shutout of the season when defenseman Ryan Murphy scored at 11:33 of the third while Grand Rapids enjoyed a 5-on-3 power play.
Makiniemi improved his record to 7-2-1 this season while Pickard (7-4-2) posted 41 saves in the loss.
The Wolves host the Iowa Wild at 7 p.m. Thursday on Craft Beer Night. To find terrific Cyber Monday specials on Wolves tickets and merchandise, visit ChicagoWolves.com or call 1-800-THE-WOLVES.
WOLVES 3, GRIFFINS 1
Grand Rapids 0 0 1 — 1
Chicago 1 2 0 — 3
First Period—1, Chicago, Poturalski 9 (Smith, Noesen), 5:41.
Penalties—Chicago (too many men, served by Lodnia), 0:44.
Second Period—2, Chicago, Leivo 2 (Noesen, Lajoie), 3:27 pp; 3, Chicago, Noesen 5 (Sellgren, Smith), 15:21.
Penalties—Barber, Grand Rapids (tripping), 3:16; Barber, Grand Rapids (tripping), 9:34; Criscuolo, Grand Rapids (kneeing), 15:58; Gust, Chicago (tripping), 18:14.
Third Period—4, Grand Rapids, Murphy 3 (Hirose, Criscuolo), 11:33 pp.
Penalties—Barber, Grand Rapids (tripping), 0:34; Berry, Grand Rapids (slashing), 5:31; Keane, Chicago (interference), 10:21; Lajoie, Chicago (tripping), 10:28; Serikov, Chicago (holding), 12:53.
Shots on goal—Grand Rapids 9-6-4—19; Chicago 15-18-11—44. Power plays—Grand Rapids 1-5; Chicago 1-5. Goalies—Grand Rapids, Pickard (41-44); Chicago, Makiniemi (18-19). Referees—Ian McCambridge and Tatu Kunto. Linesmen—Jameson Gronert and Tyler Gregory.