J.P. Vigier and Brian Sipotz scored in the third period as Chicago held on for a 4-3 victory over Manitoba in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final at Allstate Arena on Thursday night.
The Wolves take their lead in the best-of-seven series into Saturday’s Game 2.
Chicago struck early, with Derek MacKenzie finding the net just 50 seconds into the game. Justin Morrison responded 1:25 later for the Moose, and the game remained tied until Tim Wedderburn snapped a 75-game drought with his first goal since Apr. 10, 2004.
The Wolves got another early goal in the third, as Vigier made it 3-1 at the 44-second mark. Sipotz, who finished with a goal and an assist, upped the lead to 4-1 before Cory Pecker and Lee Goren scored late for Manitoba.
For Goren, it was his league-leading 10th goal of the postseason.
Chicago finished with a 26-19 edge in shots on goal. Kari Lehtonen made 16 saves for the win, while Wade Flaherty was tagged with the loss after giving up four goals on 23 shots. Alex Auld made three saves in relief, his first appearance of the 2005 postseason.