Wolves on the verge after Game 3 shutout

Photo: Jack Lima

The Chicago Wolves are one win away from another trip to the Calder Cup Finals following a 3-0 victory over the Stockton Heat in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals on Wednesday night.

The Wolves will take their 3-0 series lead into Game 4 on Friday, looking to win their fifth Western Conference championship since joining the AHL in 2001-02.

Game 3 was scoreless until the final minute of the second period, when Stefan Noesen poked a loose puck over to Richard Panik, who fired a quick shot under the crossbar to give Chicago a 1-0 lead. It was Panik’s first goal of this postseason, and the 15th of his Calder Cup Playoff career.

The Wolves doubled their lead at 5:45 of the third period, capitalizing on a Heat turnover. Vasili Ponomarev found Ivan Lodnia alone down low and Lodnia, playing his first game of the series, buried his second goal of the playoffs.

Noesen wrapped up the scoring with an empty-netter, and Alex Lyon (8-1) finished with 23 saves for his first career postseason shutout.

Dustin Wolf (6-4) turned aside 27 of 29 shots for the Heat, who have lost three straight games for the first time all season.

C1-Chicago Wolves vs. P1-Stockton Heat
Game 1 – Fri., June 3 – CHICAGO 5, Stockton 4 (OT)
Game 2 – Mon., June 6 – CHICAGO 3, Stockton 2
Game 3 – Wed., June 8 – Chicago 3, STOCKTON 0
Game 4 – Fri., June 10 – Chicago at Stockton, 10:00
*Game 5 – Sat., June 11 – Chicago at Stockton, 9:00
*Game 6 – Tue., June 14 – Stockton at Chicago, 8:00
*Game 7 – Wed., June 15 – Stockton at Chicago, 8:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern