Ten former Chicago Wolves returned to the Allstate Arena with the Utica Comets on Tuesday morning, but the current Wolves did not give them a warm welcome. The Wolves topped the Comets 4-2 in front of 11,488 enthusiastic students at the School-Day Game to earn their 10th victory in their last 11 home games.
The trio of right wing Ty Rattie (goal, 2 assists), center Alexandre Bolduc (2 assists) and left wing Chris Porter (2 goals) combined for the first 3 goals to boost the Wolves. Center Adam Cracknell added a late goal.
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"It was nice to get 2 on the power-play, which hasn't happened often this year," Wolves coach John Anderson said. "We got some pushback in the second, but I thought we played our game for the most part."
Rattie continued his tear, notching his fourth goal and seventh point in the last four games to open the scoring at 10:17 of the first period. Center Keith Aucoin carried the puck into the zone and faked a shot, instead sending a cross-ice pass to Rattie at the far side of the net. The rookie buried it for his team-leading 18th goal.
The Wolves (26-16-2-2) added another at 17:05 to take a 2-goal lead going into the first intermission. Rattie battled for the puck along the boards and got it to center Alexandre Bolduc. Bolduc threw a pass to the front of the net for Porter, who banked it off his skate to his stick and backhanded it five-hole to beat Comets goaltender Joacim Eriksson.
Utica (16-22-2-4) responded early in the second period on the power play, cutting Chicago's lead in half. Right wing Benn Ferriero streaked down the wall while on the man advantage and whipped a shot into the top corner over goaltender Jake Allen's glove at 5:51.
The equalizer came later in the period as right wing Nicklas Jensen took advantage of a scrum in front of the net to knot the score at 12:17. After a weird bounce off the boards caused a scramble in the crease, Jensen picked up the puck and beat a sprawled Allen to even the score.
Halfway through the third period, the Wolves regained the lead on a power-play goal. As Chicago peppered Eriksson with shots, a rebound from a Bolduc shot popped out to Porter in front of the net. Porter roofed it to give the Wolves a 3-2 lead with 9:48 remaining.
The Wolves cushioned their lead at 17:22, scoring again on the man advantage to make the score 4-2. A Comets defender broke up a passing play in front of the net, but the deflection went right to Cracknell's stick in the middle of the zone for the insurance goal.
Allen (19-11-2) and Eriksson (12-13-2) each made 31 saves.
The Wolves hit the road for a 7 p.m. matchup Friday in Iowa. The team will return to home ice after the All-Star Game with an Amtrak Rivalry contest at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 15, against Milwaukee at the Allstate Arena.