Wolves Sweep San Antonio
SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Despite losing two players to injury early in the game, the Chicago Wolves rallied for a 4-2 victory over the San Antonio Rampage on Saturday night at AT&T Center.
Forwards Curtis McKenzie, Gage Quinney and Valentin Zykov and defenseman Jaycob Megna scored for the Wolves (19-17-3-1), who knocked off the Rampage for the second night in a row and extended their season-high road winning streak to five games.
Goaltender Garret Sparks (5-11-3) rejected 33 shots to earn his first victory since shutting out the Iowa Wild on Nov. 7.
Defenseman Derrick Pouliot gave San Antonio a 1-0 lead 4:15 into the game. The Rampage (13-16-5-4) made a pair of risky passes pay off, which led to Pouliot walking in toward the net unchallenged and he flicked a shot from the bottom of the left circle.
McKenzie went nearly coast-to-coast to pull the Wolves even exactly 10 minutes in. He collected a short Zach Whitecloud pass in the defensive end, powered around Pouliot and held him off with his body while flipping a goal past Rampage goaltender Adam Wilcox.
The Rampage regained a 2-1 lead at 5:48 of the second when captain Jordan Nolan knocked home a rebound. The Wolves turned over the puck at center ice, which led to a 2-on-1 rush for the Rampage. Sparks rejected forward Nolan Stevens' initial shot, but had no chance to stop Nolan.
Though San Antonio outshot Chicago 19-7 in the second period, Quinney forged another tie at the 17:05 mark of the second. Defenseman Jimmy Schuldt fired the puck from the left half-wall toward heavy traffic at the net. The puck came to rest against the net a foot from the post. Quinney and Brandon Pirri jabbed at the puck together and Quinney banked it off Wilcox to make it 2-2.
The Wolves took their first lead with a little help from former Wolves defenseman Jake Walman. Valentin Zykov and Pirri motored down the ice with a 2-on-1 rush. Zykov lofted a pass across the slot and Walman, rushing back to help his defensive partner, attempted to clear the pass but wound up swatting the puck past Wilcox at 8:16 of the third. Zykov received credit for what turned out to be the game-winning goal.
San Antonio enjoyed a 6-on-4 situation in the final two minutes - the Rampage drew a penalty and then pulled Wilcox to add another skater - but defenseman Jaycob Megna slung home a shorthanded empty-net goal with 1:00 left.
Wilcox (4-5-3) finished with 20 saves in the loss.
The Wolves wrap up their road trip Wednesday at Milwaukee before returning to Allstate Arena on Saturday, Jan. 18, for Teddy Bear Toss Night. The team also debuts its Military Appreciation jerseys, presented by Turtle Wax, that will be auctioned and raffled to help the USO, Honor Flight and K9s For Veterans. For tickets, visit ChicagoWolves.com.
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