Wolves ride early surge to Game 2 victory

Photo: Ross Dettman

ROSEMONT, Ill. (theahl.com) … The Chicago Wolves rode a four-goal first period to a 6-2 victory over the Springfield Thunderbirds in Game 2 of the 2022 Calder Cup Finals on Monday evening, squaring the AHL’s championship series at one game apiece.

After a travel day tomorrow, the best-of-seven series resumes in Springfield with Game 3 on Wednesday evening.

Chicago scored twice on its first three shots of the game and built a 4-0 lead midway through the opening period en route to the win.

Andrew Poturalski notched a goal and three assists, Stefan Noesen recorded four assists and Josh Leivo scored twice to lead the Wolves’ offense.

Richard Panik opened the scoring at 1:42, burying a rebound for his fourth goal of the postseason. Spencer Smallman then upped the lead to 2-0 just 29 seconds later, Joey Keane made it 3-0 at 8:15, and Leivo scored his first of the night during a 5-on-3 advantage at the 10:12 mark.

Poturalski tapped in a feed from Noesen off a Thunderbirds turnover to give Chicago a 5-0 lead at 5:18 of the second period.

Springfield got on the board with a pair of goals late in the second, as Calle Rosen scored his first goal of the postseason on a two-man advantage at 13:54 and Will Bitten slipped home his team-leading eighth playoff goal at 16:23.

Leivo capped the scoring with his second goal of the game and league-leading 13th of the playoffs at 9:15 of the third.

Pyotr Kochetkov made 22 saves to earn the win in net for Chicago. Joel Hofer stopped 35 shots for Springfield.

NOTES: Stefan Noesen’s performance was the first four-assist game in the Calder Cup Finals since Cory Conacher had four assists for Norfolk in Game 4 of the 2012 Finals… Richard Panik has scored a goal in seven consecutive Calder Cup Finals games, including the first two games of this series and the last five of the 2013 Finals when he was with Syracuse… Josh Leivo’s 13 playoff goals are the most by an AHL skater in a single postseason since Teemu Pulkkinen scored 14 for Grand Rapids in 2015… Joel Hofer made at least 34 saves for the eighth time in his nine starts this postseason… Forward C.J. Smith and defenseman Griffin Mendel (playoff debut) entered the lineup for the Wolves, replacing Noel Gunler and Cavan Fitzgerald… Playing on a second consecutive day, both teams changed their starting goaltenders from Game 1.

C1-Chicago Wolves vs. A2-Springfield Thunderbirds
Game 1 – Sun., June 19 – Springfield 5, CHICAGO 4 (OT)
Game 2 – Mon., June 20 – CHICAGO 6, Springfield 2
Game 3 – Wed., June 22 – Chicago at Springfield, 7:05
Game 4 – Fri., June 24 – Chicago at Springfield, 7:05
Game 5 – Sat., June 25 – Chicago at Springfield, 7:05
*Game 6 – Tue., June 28 – Springfield at Chicago, 8:00
*Game 7 – Wed., June 29 – Springfield at Chicago, 8:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern