ROSEMONT, Ill. – Ondrej Pavelec made 45 saves as the Chicago Wolves defeated the American Hockey League-leading Manitoba Moose 2-1 Sunday night.
The win moved Chicago (31-27-2-1) into a tie for second place in the tightly contested West Division, and rounded out the team’s third straight week of playing four games in five nights.
Pavelec (13-12-1) allowed just one goal for the third straight game. The 21-year-old netminder, who started all four outings this week (3-1-0-0), allowed just five goals in that span.
“Pavelec was playing in his fourth straight game and I think you really saw his mental toughness with the way he responded tonight,” Wolves head coach Don Granato said. “He has a real presence out there, and we played four lines in front of him, let him see shots and had a physical forecheck, so both parts fed off each other”.
Manitoba (38-17-0-5) opened scoring on the power play, 56 seconds into the second period. Centre Jason Krog sent the puck down to right wing Guillaume Desbiens, who took it around the back of the net and passed out to defenceman Dylan Yeo, who fired it into the corner of the net.
Right-wing Spencer Machacek answered for Chicago just under two minutes later. The forward collected a rebound in front of the goal and fired it back at Moose netminder Curtis Sanford to even the score, 1-1, at 2:54 of the second period.
Right-wing Joe Motzko gave the Wolves a 2-1 edge with the eventual game-winner, 10:12 into the second period. The team’s leading goal scorer took a point-blank shot from the slot, which evaded Sanford’s glove and went in under the crossbar.
Sanford (3-1-2) turned aside 27 shots for Manitoba.