Special teams shine in Wolves win over Iowa
The Chicago Wolves produced a power-play goal and a short-handed goal 88 seconds apart to fuel a 4-1 victory over the Iowa Wild on Friday night at the Wolves Training Facility.
Forwards Sheldon Rempal, Phil Tomasino, Sean Malone and Zach Solow delivered goals for the Wolves (18-5-1-2) in their first home game since April 3. Goaltender Beck Warm rejected 26 shots while Chicago killed all six Iowa power plays.
"I think that was one of our most complete games of the year," said Wolves head coach Ryan Warsofsky. "I thought our penalty kill was really good. That started with our goaltender. Beck Warm was really good. It was really good for our power play and penalty kill to step up. They can win you hockey games and they did that tonight."
Iowa defenseman Turner Ottenbreit opened the scoring with his first goal of the year. He bounced a shot from the right point that squeezed through traffic to give the Wild (12-12-4-0) a 1-0 lead at 11:39 of the first.
The Wolves got it back at 18:43 of the first as Rempal won an offensive-zone faceoff that David Cotton spun back to defenseman Max Lajoie, who launched a rocket from the left point. Rempal rushed toward the crease and tipped Lajoie's shot past Iowa goaltender Joel Rumpel for the 1-1 tie.
The Wolves pushed their lead to 3-1 in the second period thanks to their special teams.
Tomasino ripped a shot from the right circle for a power-play goal at 8:27 -- set up by perimeter passes from Tommy Novak and Joey Keane -- then Sean Malone came through with a short-handed goal at 9:55 on his 26th birthday after Iowa committed an unforced turnover near its net. Rempal claimed it, drew the goaltender out of the crease and fed Malone flying down the slot for a one-timer into an open net.
Chicago earned an insurance goal at 10:40 when Jamieson Rees powered his way through the offensive zone and slashed toward the net, where he centered the puck to Solow for a redirect.
Warm earned his team-high sixth win for the Wolves while Rumpel (1-2-1) posted 28 saves for the Wild during a game that featured several scuffles and led to 80 penalty minutes combined.
The Wolves host Iowa at 7 p.m. Saturday as the AHL regular season moves into its final two weeks. Chicago caps the regular season May 15 with a visit from the Rockford IceHogs.