Wolves see Stars: Chicago’s last minute goal wasn’t enough to surmount eventual 4-3 loss

By Lindsey Woods

In the last outing of a five-game home stand, the Chicago Wolves lost its second game in a row to the Texas Stars on Jan. 18.

The loss came after the Wolves snapped their season-high five-game winning streak was snapped against the Lake Erie Monsters on Jan. 14. Chicago gave up a 3-1 lead in allowing four 3rd period goals by the Monsters, in a game which also marked the midway point of the season.

Chicago led Texas for less than one minute in the second period, but a three-goal streak for the Stars proved insurmountable, and the Wolves fell 4-3.

“We didn’t have enough left in our tank to pull out a victory,” said Wolves Head Coach Craig MacTavish.

A last-minute power play goal by left-winger Mike Duco wasn’t enough to save the Wolves, as the Stars’ Matt Fraser and Maxime Fortunus put two past goaltender Eddie Lack only 57 seconds apart at the end of the second period.

“In hockey, you can’t wait and play 20 minutes to try to win a game,” said Darren Haydar, the Wolves’ leading scorer. “You’ve got to play 60 minutes. As a team, that’s something we’ve been working on all year. We haven’t been doing it, and we better start with the second half of the season getting under way.”

Also scoring for the Wolves were forward Nathan Longpre at 3:06 in the first and center Jordan Schroeder at 2:45 in the second.

The Stars were 2 for 2 on the power play, embarrassing the Wolves’ ninth-ranked penalty kill.

Back in the lineup for the Wolves were Haydar, who missed the Wolves’ last three games, and Duco, who was called up to Vancouver on Jan. 8, causing him to miss the Wolves’ last five games.

“It feels great to be back in the lineup,” Haydar said. “It’s not fun watching games, so I’m happy to be back. Hopefully, I can contribute a little bit more and be a big part of the team.”

Allowing five goals in the last game, Lack was also back on the ice, permitting the Stars four goals and saving 26 shots. Lack shares goaltending responsibilities with Matt Climie, who has 2.44 goals against average over 19 games this season and allowed only one goal in his last game against the Milwaukee Admirals.

“Tonight challenged Eddie to play better, and I like to give the guy an opportunity to do that,” MacTavish said.

The Wolves come into midseason ranked third in the Midwest division with 39 game points. The top-ranked Charlotte Checkers have 41 points.

The Wolves continued the second half of its season against Rockford, on the road Jan. 20 and at home Jan. 21.

The Wolves will continue its second-half stretch with two consecutive road games against the Abbotsford Heat, ranked third in the West division, on Jan. 24 and Jan. 25.