Wolves edge Barons in battle for 8th

(chicagowolves.com) — Entering the game tied for the eighth and final playoff spot in the AHL’s Western Conference, the Chicago Wolves and Oklahoma City Barons battled for 65 minutes and into a six-round shootout in which the Wolves prevailed with a 3-2 win Wednesday night at the Allstate Arena.

Defenseman Danny Groulx and right wing Darren Haydar scored in regulation for Chicago (31-23-5-4), which snapped a two-game losing skid and moved up into a tie for seventh place in the conference. The shootout loss dropped the Barons to 10th place.

“It was a tough game tonight, both teams really battled,” said Wolves head coach Scott Arniel. “At this time of year it is nice to get one point, but even better to grab that second point.”

After Oklahoma City tied the game 2-2 just 3:57 into the second period, neither team was able to find the back of the net in the final 41:03 of the contest. Forwards Michael Davies and Nicklas Jensen converted in the shootout, while goaltender Matt Climie stopped five of Oklahoma City’s six attempts.

Oklahoma City (30-23-2-8) opened scoring 4:46 into the first period when left wing Toni Rajala found center Anton Lander in the slot and he redirected the puck past Climie.

Chicago needed just 23 seconds to knot the score at one. Groulx skated in from the near point to the top of the circle and his shot ricocheted off the stick of a Barons defenseman and through the legs of goaltender Yann Danis.

The Wolves took a 2-1 lead into the locker room after 20 minutes of play when forward Eric Kattelus and Haydar worked a two-on-one, which Haydar finished off at 18:37.

The Barons grabbed the lone marker in the second period to bring the contest even at 3:57. Climie played the puck outside of his crease but was stripped by Rajala, whose pass to the far point was one-timed by defenseman Alex Plante past a sprawling Climie.

Climie (18-19-3) stopped 31 of 33 shots in regulation and overtime. Danis (17-14-5) posted 24 saves.