Matteau! Matteau! Matteau! Wolves win Game 1

Photo: Gregg Forwerck

CHARLOTTE, N.C. ( … Stefan Matteau scored his second goal of the night with 5:30 gone in overtime to give the Chicago Wolves a come-from-behind 4-3 win over Charlotte in the opener of the 2019 Calder Cup Finals on Saturday evening.

Game 2 is set for Sunday in Charlotte (6 p.m. ET, NHL Network, NHL Network Radio, AHLTV).

After Nic Hague kept the puck in at the point, Matteau took a shot from the left-wing boards that eluded Alex Nedeljkovic to give the Wolves their fourth win in as many trips to overtime this postseason.

The series started with the Checkers drawing an early power play and converting at 2:19 of the opening period when Trevor Carrick took a shot from the point that deflected off a Wolves defender and got past Oscar Dansk.

Chicago tied it at 5:54 when Griffin Reinhart wristed a shot from the left point that Matteau redirected home for what would be his first of the night.

The Checkers regained the lead at 15:47 when Martin Necas got a piece of Roland McKeown‘s shot from the center point, then upped the lead to 3-1 with 56.7 seconds left in the opening frame when Andrew Poturalski‘s shot from the right circle squeezed past Dansk.

The Wolves clawed back in the second period, with Zac Leslie wristing a shot through traffic from above the right-wing circle at 11:27, and Zach Whitecloud beating a screened Nedeljkovic from the blue line with just 5.7 seconds remaining in the stanza.

Charlotte owned a 17-7 advantage in a scoreless third period, but weathered a major storm midway through the frame when the Wolves spent two minutes and 55 seconds continuously in the offensive zone.

Dansk (10-5) finished with 35 saves on the night, stopping all 25 shots he faced after the first intermission.

Nedeljkovic (8-4) stopped 32 shots in the loss.

NOTES: It was the first career playoff overtime goal for Matteau, whose father, Stephane, scored one of the most memorable goals in Stanley Cup Playoff history for the 1994 New York Rangers… Chicago has won four straight games since falling behind 2-1 in the Western Conference Finals vs. San Diego… Three of Charlotte’s last four games have required overtime… The Checkers were 1-for-3 on the power play; the Wolves were 0-for-2, including a chance early in OT… Attendance was 8,465, the largest for a Checkers game in four seasons since the team moved into Bojangles’ ColiseumGame 1 winners are 63-19 all-time (.768) in Calder Cup Finals series.

2019 Calder Cup Finals (best-of-7)
A1-Charlotte Checkers vs. C1-Chicago Wolves | Series Infographic
Game 1 – Sat., June 1 – Chicago 4, CHARLOTTE 3 (OT)
Game 2 – Sun., June 2 – Chicago at Charlotte, 6:00, AHLTV, NHL Network
Game 3 – Wed., June 5 – Charlotte at Chicago, 8:00, AHLTV, NHL Network
Game 4 – Thu., June 6 – Charlotte at Chicago, 8:00, AHLTV, NHL Network**
*Game 5 – Sat., June 8 – Charlotte at Chicago, 8:00, AHLTV, NHL Network
*Game 6 – Thu., June 13 – Chicago at Charlotte, 7:00, AHLTV, NHL Network
*Game 7 – Fri., June 14 – Chicago at Charlotte, 7:00, AHLTV, NHL Network
*if necessary… All times Eastern
**delayed broadcast